Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: Surf On The Rocks Volume 3
|This is a pretty nice cross section of modern surf, much of which is lesser known. there are a couple of goofers here, but overall, it's a nice web-only bootleg comp.|
Picks: The Aqualads - Speedshifter, The Bomboras - Red River Valley, The Breakaways - Percussionator, Los Coronas - The Wedge, Los Derrumbes - No Tengo Tabla, The Diamondheads - Waving, The Exotics - The Boppin' Bison, The Fabulous Plank-tones - Channel 9, The Foggy Mountain Rockers - Pipeline, The Halibuts - Chumming, The Imperial Surfers - Hullabaloo Beat, Jon and the Nightriders - Wild Weekend, Jonny and the Shamen - Lullaby of the Leaves, Laika and the Cosmonauts - A Night In Tunisia, The Longboards - Guinchy, The Mosquitoes - The Rip Curl Shaker, The Packards - Tally Ho, Pollo Del Mar - Charlie Don't Surf, The Rapiers - Straight To The Point, Los Straitjackets - Itchy Chicken, Surf Cinema - Strait Up Chuck, The Surf Raiders - Surf Bound, Los Twangs - Twanguska, The Ultras - Straight Arrow (Davie's Theme), Urban Surf Kings - Man From Adano, The Vara-Tones - Ramrods 'n' Hotrods, The Vibrants - Quite A Fireball, Way Out West - Swingin' Creeper
Track by Track Review
Los Alaridos Salvajes - Odisea Link Wray
This is a muddy garage sound obviously dedicated to Link Wray. There are reverb crashes and big long chords, and lots of low brow distortion. The harsh audio detracts from a superb song in my view.
The Aqualads - Speedshifter
the drums pound as the rod revs up and races off, then the glissando rips and the jammin' twangin' ensues. Lots of energy and fire in this riff surfer.
The Bomboras - Red River Valley
Merging surf and organ rock very effectively, The Bomboras rock mightily on this arrangement. A ton of energy and flair, and a grin or two as well.
The Breakaways - Percussionator
Drums are center stage in the tradition of Adrian and the Sunsets, but with more guitar work. The tribal drum break is very Cozy Cole inspired, and a joy to hear. Great!
The California Wave Wizards - Misirlou
Trying really hard to pretend to the surf, this recording features lightly played thin guitar tone and is based on Dick Dale's 45 right down to the trumpet. It's just not very genuine sounding, and there's a dropped not in the guitar solo in the middle. Go buy the real thing!
Surf Rock (Instrumental)
One of Dick Dale's signature songs is rocked and rolled and surfed to perfection. This is perhaps the most interesting arrangement since the Detonators slowed it way down. "The Wedge" is full of energy and twin guitar drive, tuff glissandos, and pumpin' power from the bass and drums.
Los Derrumbes - No Tengo Tabla
"No Tengo Tabla" rocks and pumps like a true frat rocker turned surf. Great glissandos and driving energy.
The Diamondheads - Waving
"Waving" is soft and slow, with a liquid evening groove that employs soft slow whammy chords and reverb to lull the night into providing a romantic backdrop. Beautiful and islandic!
The Exotics - The Boppin' Bison
Hoe Down (Instrumental)
Tipping their hat to the Bison Bop, this hoe-down riffola is quite cool. Buck Owens, or more likely Roy Clarke could do this.
The Fabulous Plank-tones - Channel 9
The Challengers' "Channel 9" is played with energy and drive. The drums are excellent and the guitar chimes in just right. Very fun track.
Thick, over compressed production take the life out of "Satellite," which is too bad, because this rock instro has a lot of flair, rockin' drums, and pumping bass. The guitar tone is echo based in a European fashion.
The Foggy Mountain Rockers - Pipeline
These cowboys shimmer and charm their way through The Chantays' "Pipeline" arranged somewhat like Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids, but less dramatic. It drifts far afield at times aurally, but never loses the energy stream or surf imagery.
"Chumming" is chunky, thumpy, percussive, progressional, and rhythmic. Like a fifties instro, with more precision and damped reverb. Great stuff!
Impala - Cat Fight
A pumpin' bass line and plinking piano, amped by a stinging guitar. It's intensity befits the title, but there's little melody wise, just scene setting repetition.
The Imperial Surfers - Hullabaloo Beat
"Hullabaloo Beat" is a chunky chorded number with surf stomp sensibilities. Maybe a little frat rock-ish, but very fun and full of energy. A small combo bash and a-half.
Jon and the Nightriders - Wild Weekend
This is easily the best cover of this classic instrumental, originally issued by the Rockin' Rebels. All the rhythm crunch is there, and the reverb just adds glitter to the mean edge of the song. Excellent!
Jonny and the Shamen - Lullaby of the Leaves
The Ventures splashed this up first of course. This is a pretty strait cover, more reverby, and maybe a little faster, but it's reverent and very good. A nice choice to cover in this set.
Laika and the Cosmonauts - A Night In Tunisia
There was a lot of jazz in Southern California surf instros back in the days of old. This is a hot rendition of a spiffy jazz number from the fifties. It's a natural for the Euro instro sound.
This classic theme ("Dark Eyes") is converted nicely to a surf romp. Rich with reverb and dark surf energy, and sparkled with splashy rhythm guitar. Quite large!
The Mosquitoes - The Rip Curl Shaker
"The Rip Curl Shaker" is a rippin' cool instro with reverb crashes and a solid beat. The melody line is very surf, and the energy superb. Real spunk and a scenic sense of traveling along a winding coastal highway with the curl below. The horns add a filmic feel. Great track!
Again, the drums create a necessary foundation for this rhythm dominated tune. Paul's sense of rhythm guitar has always dominated, giving his brilliant melodies a unique interlock with the rhythm guitar. Infectious and fun.
Pollo Del Mar - Charlie Don't Surf
Finally committed to disc, Pollo Del Mar's cut of the Clash's peon to surf has become very VERY surf. The rhythm is infectious, the bass solid, the drums perfect, and the glissandos right on. A thoroughly wonderful track!
The Rapiers - Straight To The Point
Very tweaky, with stinging whammy chords and ultra echo guitar. Fast drums and an odd melody line make this stand out. The disturbed guitar echo is unnerving at times.
Los Straitjackets - Itchy Chicken
Out in the barnyard, the chicks are peckin' at the ground, looking for a few grains to scarf down. The guitar plays the part of the chicken voice so well, and the flying double picked parts are fever pitched. Grindy, fast, super fun.
Surf Cinema - Strait Up Chuck
On the fast side, "Strait Up Chuck" is riffy and circular, but is also catchy. In some ways, it's hints of the Austin sound, yet speaks of Northern latitudes.
The Surf Raiders - Surf Bound
The Nevegans aka the Teen Beats originally cut this. It's a great rolling beat surf tune, melodic and infectious. The chants of "surf - bound" celebrate anticipation of the waves waiting just ahead. It's an excellent recording and performance.
Susan and the SurfTones - Perfidia
This ancient classic, from the days of the big band or before, is rendered in deference to the Ventures who popularized it for rock 'n roll fans in 1960. The arrangement is quite presurf, not the dry Pacific Northwest sound, but certainly that feel.
On the modern side aurally, "Twanguska" has a familiar feel via its shouts of "hay" and the slightly Eastern European melody. Perhaps it's a transmutation of something, I don't know. Either way, it's a fine track with flair and a catchy melody and rhythm.
The Ultras - Straight Arrow (Davie's Theme)
With a melody so much like Davie Allan's own it's scary, the Ultras delightfully drive towards the beach with a bitchin' track of no small dimension. Eric "Vanilla Sludge" Lenchner plays with a flair and sense of humor that is immediately recognizable. His background in the Readymades and at Maximum Louie Louie make him the perfect guitarist for your nightmares. Hats off to the man!
Urban Surf Kings - Man From Adano
Stereo chords and guitar lines wash up on a summer beach where the tourist stands in awe of the curl. Happy, prancing, country sweet, surf rhythmic, and very fun. I can't say I've heard quite this blend of country and surf sounds. More than just different, "Man From Adano" is a splendidly infectious track.
The Vara-Tones - Ramrods 'n' Hotrods
Inspired by a merger between Al Casey's "Ramrod," the Duals' "Stick Shift," and the Fireballs' "Bulldog," this is so smoothly and completely merged that it just melts together into one seamless new song. Brilliant! Also called "Ram Shift Dog."
The Ventures - Hawaii Five-0
Horror Film For Your Ears (Instrumental)
"Binge and Purge" lumbers down a path not often traveled, where loungecore and private eye jazz blend into a new recipe for sludgomatic horror throb. Just short of monstercore, this slithers and sneaks in the back allies of your town, looking for a garage to sleep in. It can't decide if it's suave and cool, or dark and sinister. The conflict between the trench coated gumshoe and the sci-fi radiation byproduct ooze from the planet sludge is all too enticing. You can draw a slight parallel to the soundscape of the Reventlos' "King Kong." No surf in sight, but this is a brilliant track, like a movie with no scenes.
The Vibrants - Quite A Fireball
With the Fireballs written all over it, "Quite A Fireball" bounces and grins with the same kind of charm that the Fireballs exuded. This is a wonderful track with great drums, perfect bass, and superb guitars.
Way Out West - Swingin' Creeper
This classic Ventures' track from their Go-Go period is superbly surfed up. Way Out West employ great drums, very cool muted plucking, and delicate energy. I didn't expect to much, because other versions I've heard are either clones of very unimaginative. This is very good.