Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|Ya know, it's albums like this that were the rarest jewels of surf. Compilations with otherwise unavailable tracks by killer combos. This comp is all classic surf style, and pretty raw too. It's amazing that the masters are still even around after a mere 35 years. There are probably stereo masters somewhere, but mono will have to do in the mean time. This is mastered from the album master, not the studio session tapes, but man-oh-man, is this an important release! With half the tracks from the Centurians, it could be viewed as their first album, or at least half album / ep.|
Picks: The Centurions - Sanjuro, Bullwinkle Part II, The Wedge, Pipeline, Surf War, Ray Bay, The Impacts - Kon Tiki, Dave Myers and the Surftones - Exotic, Intoxica, Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Mile Zero, Steel Pier, Jim Waller and the Deltas - Surf Bird
Track by Track Review
Slow Burn Surf (Instrumental)
Before they were on Del-Fi, the Centurions recorded a few tracks for this comp. They were among the most ominous, with their frequent use of super low-E lead lines. This track is shimmeringly evil, with a low down slightly Middle Eastern melody and slow burn sleeve appeal. The band is listed as The Centurians.
The Centurions - Bullwinkle Part II
This unusual track was featured prominently in the cult film Pulp Fiction, which thrust this otherwise little known band into the frontal lobes of the American conscience. The track is oddly structured, and very cool. I like the rawness of the original better, but the sense of ensemble here leaves this to be the over all fave.
The band is listed as The Centurians.
The Centurions - The Wedge
Evil Surf (Instrumental)
Not the Dick Dale tune, but an original surf monster full of low grindage. The very heavily reverbed surf progression and melody line are dark and evil. Magnifique!
The Centurions - Pipeline
Wrong Melody Surf (Instrumental)
A raw version of The Chantays' ultra classic "Pipeline," and an incorrectly played melody line at that. Cool piano, but not remarkable.
The Centurions - Surf War
Lending it's name to the album, "Surf War" is a slight variation on a standard surf progression. Primitives and dark.
Thee most evil low-E monster ever recorded. Dark, gloomy, ugly, super heavy gage E-string grind. Wow! It's my favorite Centurions track, bar none!
A chord progression with tasty accents, but no melody. "Kon Tiki" is a rare glimpse into the tracks that Del-Fi left off of the Wipe Out! album. Rare doesn't always equal great, and the thin sound and real basic progression render this unremarkable. Yet, I find it alluring in a historical sense.
Dave Myers and the Surftones - Exotic
This early Dave Myers and the Surftones dry arrangement of "Exotic" is not nearly as pretty and precise as the rest of their material. It has all the raw energy of primitive surf, and Dave's characteristic country voice shouting here and there is proof positive of his presence. The melody is the minimalized version also used by Bob Vaught and the Renegaids, as opposed to the full power melody if the Sentinals or the Pachuko Soul of the Rhythm Kings. A great track. The sleeve lists the song title as "Exotic Surf Rock."
Dave Myers and the Surftones - Intoxica
"Intoxica" is raw and demo-like, but it is a great cover nonetheless. Dave Myers and the Surftones give the song quite a bit of garage edge. This often recorded tune seems always to be earthy and cool.
Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Mile Zero
Crude Surf (Instrumental)
"Mile Zero" is in Bob Vaught and the Renegaids usual raw style. Edgy vintage surf with wailin' sax over a rudimentary progression. It is precisely its genuine garage appeal that makes it so cool.
Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Steel Pier
Impact Surf (Instrumental)
Bob Vaught and the Renegaids raw style lends edge to the Impacts' best track. A cool trip into the underbelly of garage surf rants, big and different than the Impacts' version by use of low-E lead instead of a lap steel.
Jim Waller and the Deltas - Surf Bird
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)
This is an instro version of the Charades vocal "Surf Bird." Funny how much cooler this is. R&B low down soul with hand claps.