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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Music Reviews »

Permalink Surf-Age Nuggets: Trash & Twang Instrumentals: 1959-1966

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I just got this from Amazon, and on first look, I really like the packaging of the whole thing. I've only had a chance to listen to the first 2 discs once; so far, so good.

One thing that really struck me is the "just going for it" style of youthful abandon on the recordings. There's just this energy that I realized made me love surf music in the first place. Now don't get me wrong, I love the precision and technique of a lot of the modern surf releases, but there's just something in those early teen recordings. Inspiring stuff.

Rev

PS: I thought I would cringe at the "Indian" additions to the Scout's tune, but was presently surprised that they went for a more authentic sounding approach, rather than the stereo-typical Hollywood one.

Canadian Surf

http://www.urbansurfkings.com/

Last edited: Jan 12, 2013 16:53:49

I agree Rev.
Makes me think I need to find some more middle aged hacks,
or up n coming kids to start a surf band with.

I know and love a lot of the great players on this board.
But I always feel overwhelmed by their proficiency on their instruments.

Jeff(bigtikidude)

bigtikidude wrote:

I agree Rev.
Makes me think I need to find some more middle aged hacks,
or up n coming kids to start a surf band with.

I know and love a lot of the great players on this board.
But I always feel overwhelmed by their proficiency on their instruments.

Huge Tiki Man:
I never let any of that sort of thing slow me down...just do your thing and do your best...just find out what you do, and focus on that...it's definitely not a "competition at proficiency" at all... just figure out the groove and ride it...

Wow... thanks for the heads up on this set. Definitely a must have!

House Of Twang

~Los Beardos Raviolis~
Purveyors of Insane-o Bearded-up Spaghetti-Western Surf Rock!!!

So, I thought I'd revive this thread. I've been slowly absorbing the entire set - it's a LOT of stuff to get through! I've been mostly listening to discs 1 and 4, since that's where most of my favorites are (and my main CD player still won't play disc 2). I thought I'd post my favorite tracks from those two discs, and see how others feel.

I think disc four is the best. There are some amazing tracks that I've had for quite a while now, like The Birds by the Motivations (just sick!), Ali Baba by Dave & the Customs, The Other Side by the Torquays, Pulsebeat by the Buddies, and the legendary Morpheus by the Toads. Outside of those that I already love, here are my new favorites:

Calvin Cool: El Tecolote - this is just so mean and dirty, I find it completely irresistible. Really simple and direct, but oh so effective. When the lead guitarist goes into the super-bendy solo around 1:30, I get shivers. The lead guitar tone has some serious attitude. Love the reverby string raking at the beginning and the end, too. Simply fantastic!

St. John & the Cardinals: The Rise - wow, the crazy groove! The groove! Every time I hear this, I just want to MOVE - and I don't dance! Such a cool melody, too, with the middle part clearly influenced by British invasion. I think this track is completely unique, never heard anything like it. Too cool!

The Mosriters: On the Run - again, what a groove! It's like a combination of the above two tracks, really great bouncy groove topped off with a simple-and-yet-so-effective lead guitar that takes off at 1:30. Love the palm muting throughout, too.

The Dantes: Dragon Walk - this sounds pretty Link Wray-ish to my ears, and the lead guitar has a pretty ugly tone that is simply perfect for this track! Once again, a serious groove (wow, I didn't realize until just now that all these tracks seriously accentuate the groove), and once again a simple melody made quite effective by some fancy licks and picking, a bit countryish influenced - I just LOVE it when the lead guitar plays the descending line at 0:55 and 1:38, completely makes the song!

The Decades: Strange Worlds - a fantastic space-surf track slightly influenced by Out of Limits and Ventures in Space, but it's its own thing, really. A great dark and mysterious vibe, with a nicely tremoloed lead guitar, and smooth drumming full of nice drum rolls. Very nice band interplay and dynamics. This one is really begging to be covered by a modern surf band.

Marlow Stewart & the Illusions: Earthquake - a seriously dark, lo-fi track with a great moody melody. This is not the same song as the Nobles'/Surfaris' one, but it is indeed the Illusions of 'Jezebel' and three-Jazzmasters-without-a-bass-player fame. Here they were backing Marlow Stewart, and had a bass player. Supremely moody and melodic, with a fantastic bridge, just a really well-crafted song.

These six are the very best for me, but I also really dig these:
The Charades Band: Sophia - melodic, moody and exotic, really nice
Jim Head and his Del Rays: Harem Bells - same as above
The Turks: Baja - a pretty different take on this standard, much moodier with a very cool organ
Kenny & the Fiends: The House on Haunted Hill - just a cool track with some great drumming on it, love the voice chorus in the second half, too
The Vistas: No Return - a simple melodic track made a bit more special as it was the b-side of the great Moon Relay
The Telstars: Spaghetti Strap - another song by this band is Topless. It's clear what was on their minds! This is a pleasant, slightly-moody track.
The Vaqueros: Desert Wind - supremely moody and dark, slow and foreboding, with a touch of exotic. Nice.

From disc one, here are my favorites:

The Shan-Tones: Sheba - a beautiful dark and deeply exotic track with great drumming and a very cool organ.

the Vaqueros: Echo - epitome of surf drumming, great rolls, and a fairly mysterious melody, that is harmonized halfway through the verse by the other guitar - very unusual and innovative for the time!

Johnny McCoy & the Buckets: Scrub Bucket - another track with a serious groove! Try to resist dancing when this one starts! An infectious main riff really makes the song take off.

The Ramrods: Night Ride - these guys were definitely paying close attention to the Chantays and the Astronauts! Check out that phenomenal heavily-muted-and-reverbed-low-E-string rhythm part, and the nice electric piano backing. A very cool melody, too, a bit Pipeline-ish, but not too much so.

The Scouts: Mr. Custer Stomp - wow, this is completely wild! The tribal beat and the Indian chanting that keeps coming into the song is utterly unique and SO COOL! Dig also the jive voice mixed in the background, rhythmically belching out 'yeah'! The guitars have a great groove and really make the track move! I love this!

4 of Us: Batman (Freefalling) - just gorgeous, one of the most beautiful and melodic tracks on the entire box set. It sounds quite Ritchie Podolor-ish to my ears, it has his particular melodic touch, with some interesting melodic twists throughout. Simply phenomenal.

The Crescents featuring Chiyo: Pink Dominoes - fronted by a very rare female surf lead guitarist, this track is exploring the R&B side of surf music, with some jazzy turnarounds and chords and truly impressively tight interplay between the instruments. Not terribly substantive, but really excellent for what it is, a bit of groove and a cool I-IV-V riff. Reminds me of some of Jim Messina's stuff, which is high praise, indeed! I think this song was the b-side to the super-cool Devil's Surf.

Disc one also has some already-classic tracks like the Phantoms' XL-3, The Vistas' Moon Relay, the Vibrants' Breeze and I, and DD's Jungle Fever, but I had all those before so I'm not counting them above.

Anyway, what really struck me is how pretty much completely non-cliché the above tracks are. Very creative, very unique, with great musicianship. And yet, I bet the vast majority of surf music fans didn't even know these tracks before this box set made them available. You'd think by now we'd be scraping the absolute bottom of the '60s surf barrel, but here's a treasure-trove of surf tracks that are not too far from the best of the genre, as far as I'm concerned. That's pretty amazing.

So, what are some of your favorites? I'll have to delve more deeply into discs 2 and 3 next....

Ivan
The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

Last edited: Apr 04, 2013 13:24:11

The collection is a joyful revelation to me.

This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

So, what are some of your favorites?
Disc 1 XL3 by the Pantoms
Trem decent into puonding drums, Sabre Dances with the Moon Dawgs, Pow, Sock Bam.

yea.

http://www.reverbnation.com/thegreasemonkeyz

IvanP wrote:

So, I thought I'd revive this thread.

This is good stuff. I haven't quite listened to these in this much detail yet, but I look forward to going back through them with your comments in mind.

Anyway, what really struck me is how pretty much completely non-cliché the above tracks are. Very creative, very unique, with great musicianship. And yet, I bet the vast majority of surf music fans didn't even know these tracks before this box set made them available. You'd think by now we'd be scraping the absolute bottom of the '60s surf barrel, but here's a treasure-trove of surf tracks that are not too far from the best of the genre, as far as I'm concerned. That's pretty amazing.

This was my take away from all this. I remember talking to John Blair after the 2011 convention and he made some kind of remark about how surprised he was to be continually finding new surf tracks even after all these years. This box set proves that. Most of these I had never heard of, and yet these are far from being filler or throwaway tracks. There are some really unique gems in here. Goldmine!

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

I'm as big'a fan of this collection as anyone else here. I've currently got all 4 discs (only) on an iPod shuffle (no screen/track list view) and listen when I run so I'm never entirely sure what cut or CD I'm even hearing at any moment. That said, in my last few runs w/ it, I've been mostly underwhelmed.

Entirely possible it's just me being in a funk, schitzophrenic, or just some bad Steve Jobs mojo on the shuffle algorithm, but in the recent rounds, I've hit a fair amount of "meh..." lately.

Maybe it's time to sit down and give the set some proper play thru again. Seems to be the case based on your update, Ivan.

Fady

El Mirage @ ReverbNation

I listen to this collection non-stop. I need to do a more comprehensive review of the tracks for y'all. But for now I'll say what I've said before... GET IT!!!

BOSS FINK "R.P.M." available now from DOUBLE CROWN RECORDS!
www.facebook.com/BossFink
www.doublecrownrecords.com

Last edited: Apr 04, 2013 22:10:20

iTunes does a pretty good job of pulling in all of the information.There were a few that I tweaked the tags some. You know like having "The" in the band name, spelling/syntax for stuff like the Rick-A-Shays and stuff like that. I have to say I would recommend not buying it on iTunes or other digital stores. This is really a hard back book with the CDs mounted in the front and back cover, you would miss out on all of the pictures and text inside! All in all it is a really great CD set.
Thanks
Guy

Last edited: Apr 04, 2013 22:30:14

Onslow_Beach wrote:

in my last few runs w/ it, I've been mostly underwhelmed.
Entirely possible it's just me being in a funk, schitzophrenic, or just some bad Steve Jobs mojo on the shuffle algorithm, but in the recent rounds, I've hit a fair amount of "meh..." lately.

Fady, I find the majority of the material on the boxset pretty underwhelming, as well. I have a hard time listening to any of the four CDs all the way through. Too much of just the basic I-IV-V without much of a discernible melody in the mix. I'm sure Norm will strongly disagree! Yep, no question that there's lots of great teenage enthusiasm and energy in those tracks, but that's just not enough for me. De gustibus non est disputandum, right? That's why I've been making a concerted effort to dig out the tracks that I really like from among a lot of pedestrian and highly forgettable material - IMHO, of course. Hopefully you'll have a chance to do the same and narrow the huge compilation down to only the gems.

Ivan
The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

Thanks for doing that Ivan, I'm going to make a playlist of just the songs you mentioned.

Danny Snyder

Latest project - Now That's What I Call SURF

"With great reverb comes great responsibility" - Uncle Leo

Sure, there's of few I-IV-V songs in there. That can get boring on any album. Especially to the jaded listener! But there's plenty of powerful gems in I-IV style in there too. The record is also very eclectic in style and performance.

Danny, I don't know why you would make a playist based only Ivan's recommendations. You're passing up some really great stuff!
Here’s just a few of my faves…

DISC 1

Doheny Run – The Velvetones… Pure surf, the vibe doesn’t get any better than this.

Sheba – The Shan-Tones… insanely cool melodic and exotic tune.

XL-3 The Phantoms… Simply a monster track.

DISC 2

Kick Out – The Surfaris… A great example of a super cool I-IV-V song

Scramble – The Hollywoods … another I-IV-V type arrangement that's off the hook!

DISC 3

Road Runner –The Road Runnahs… Hot rod sounds and great performance!

Downshiftin’ – The Ree-Gents… Another great hot rod tune!

Gotch- The Tradewinds- More super cool I-IV-V surf madness!

The Crash- The Creations- More pure unfiltered surf!

The Unknown – The Vydels… Even more pure unfiltered teen surf stomp!

Jet Stream – The Breakers - Siply awesome. Ghastlies used to do this.

DISC 4

Spaghetti Strap – The Telstars. Kickass melody!

The Birds- The Motivations… Simply a monster as Ivan mentioned.

Ali Baba – Dave and The Customs… another I-IV-V that makes me want to break stuff!!

Pulsebeat - The Buddies… Dig this one too!

House On Haunted Hill-Kenny and The Fiends. The origin of spooky surf. A Ghastly Ones fave!!

Morpheus- The Toads… Shows you that you can even play a one note melody and it can sound great. Covered by the might Satan’s Pigrims!

BOSS FINK "R.P.M." available now from DOUBLE CROWN RECORDS!
www.facebook.com/BossFink
www.doublecrownrecords.com

Last edited: Apr 05, 2013 09:23:16

shivers13 wrote:

Sure, there's of few I-IV-V songs in there. That can get boring on any album. Especially to the jaded listener! But there's plenty of powerful gems in I-IV style in there too. The record is also very eclectic in style and performance.

Danny, I don't know why you would make a playist based only Ivan's recommendations. You're passing up some really great stuff!
Here’s just a few of my faves…

DISC 1

Doheny Run – The Velvetones… Pure surf, the vibe doesn’t get any better than this.

Sheba – The Shan-Tones… insanely cool melodic and exotic tune.

XL-3 The Phantoms… Simply a monster track.

DISC 2

Kick Out – The Surfaris… A great example of a super cool I-IV-V song

Scramble – The Hollywoods … another I-IV-V type arrangement that's off the hook!

DISC 3

Road Runner –The Road Runnahs… Hot rod sounds and great performance!

Downshiftin’ – The Ree-Gents… Another great hot rod tune!

Gotch- The Tradewinds- More super cool I-IV-V surf madness!

The Crash- The Creations- More pure unfiltered surf!

The Unknown – The Vydels… Even more pure unfiltered teen surf stomp!

Jet Stream – The Breakers - Siply awesome. Ghastlies used to do this.

DISC 4

Spaghetti Strap – The Telstars. Kickass melody!

The Birds- The Motivations… Simply a monster as Ivan mentioned.

Ali Baba – Dave and The Customs… another I-IV-V that makes me want to break stuff!!

Pulsebeat - The Buddies… Dig this one too!

House On Haunted Hill-Kenny and The Fiends. The origin of spooky surf. A Ghastly Ones fave!!

Morpheus- The Toads… Shows you that you can even play a one note melody and it can sound great. Covered by the might Satan’s Pigrims!

Thanks for the suggestions Norman!

Danny Snyder

Latest project - Now That's What I Call SURF

"With great reverb comes great responsibility" - Uncle Leo

Norm, I think we have a close to 100% overlap! I think I have all the songs you recommended from discs 1 and 4 on my list, as well (I think the Velvetones track is one exception, but I definitely don't hate it, I almost included it in my list, I just couldn't make up my mind about it). I definitely didn't mean to imply that just because a song has the I-IV-V structure it means it's not good - absolutely not! Many of the tracks I love from this box set are still I-IV-V, as my above list clearly shows.

I haven't listened to discs 2 and 3 as much yet, like I said above (disc 2 mostly cause it won't play on my CD player), which is why I hadn't listeted any songs from those two. But last night I was listening to disc 3, and really enjoying a bunch of the stuff on there, too - obviously stuff like Crash, Unknown and Road Runnah are already surf classics, but there was a handful of other great tracks that I wasn't familiar with previously. I'll try to post my list for disc 3 in the next couple of days. But anyway, nice to see we're in pretty close agreement!

Ivan
The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

IvanP wrote:

Norm, I think we have a close to 100% overlap! I think I have all the songs you recommended from discs 1 and 4 on my list... I definitely didn't mean to imply that just because a song has the I-IV-V structure it means it's not good - absolutely not! Many of the tracks I love from this box set are still I-IV-V, as my above list clearly shows.

Aha! Great minds do think alike! Cool

Overall, disc 3 and 4 are my favorites. I always say that the test of a great I-IV-V song is that you don't notice or care about the basic structure when it has a really good hook, super energetic or memorable in some way.

BOSS FINK "R.P.M." available now from DOUBLE CROWN RECORDS!
www.facebook.com/BossFink
www.doublecrownrecords.com

I need to give this more listens.
Disc 2 not playing in CD player, and having to
Play on DVD player, bummed me out.

And the less than stellar sound on half the tracks
Was very much a down side.

Jeff(bigtikidude)

bigtikidude wrote:

I need to give this more listens.
Disc 2 not playing in CD player, and having to
Play on DVD player, bummed me out.

And the less than stellar sound on half the tracks
Was very much a down side.

Yeah, disc 2 not playing in my CD player was a bummer for sure.

The sound quality isn’t an issue for me.

I gotta say though this box set exceeded my high expectation.

SSS Agent #178

OK, here are some comments on my favorites from disc 3. It's a better disc than I initially thought, actually. The Creations' Crash, the Vy-Dells' Unknown, and the Breakers' Jetstream are already surf classics, as far as I'm concerned, and all three have had recent CD releases (the first two on the Birth of the Surf, Vol. 2, and the third on Surfin' in the Midwest, Vol. 3). And then there's Road Runnah, famously included on the Pyramids' one LP, though it was actually recorded by a band named the Road Runners, not the Pyramids! But it's also a classic. So, that leaves me with six additional favorites from this disc:

The Avantis: Wax 'em Down - the b-side of the great Gypsy Surfer, it's not quite as a great as that, being based around the gimmicky sound of waxing a surfboard, a cheesy organ and a bone-headed I-IV-V riff, but when the song gets to the solo it's clear these guys knew what they were doing! Anyway, it's worthy of inclusion here simply by virtue of being the b-side of Gypsy Surfer, as far as I'm concerned!

The Cherokees: Uprisin' - another uber-cool American-Indian-sounding track with a great melody and overall nice musicianship. This one was covered in '96 by Shag's band the Tiki Tones (titled Island Uprising on their debut Idol Pleasures).

The Royal Flairs: One Pine Box - highly rhythmic with some cool riffing. A great lesson in how to do a lot with little - there isn't much to this song, but they're able to somehow turn into something very cool. I dig the solo section a lot, as well as the stop-start riff.

The Motivations: Motivate - starts off with a crazy-sounding descending line, then goes into a basic I-IV-V progression, only to be saved by the return of the fascinating opening riff, and then some fantastic heavily-reverbed and muted low-E-string chunking. By the time the female chorus and the sax kick in, it's all over, I'm completely won over!

The Persuaders: City of Atlantis - well, it's obvious these guys had been listening to the Shadows! Pretty cool for an early '60s US band. A beautiful melody and some really nice echo-y lead guitar playing, joined at times by decent sax that gives it a bit of a US flavor.

The Sherwoods: Tickler - what a great riff and groove! This really moves, love it! Excellent playing by the whole band, you can tell they were steeped in R&B and jazz.

OK, on to disc 2! This one may take a bit to decode, as it's a complete mystery to me at this point, not having listened to it so far almost at all. (I wonder how many people got the fully functioning disc 2 in their boxset, and how many of us got stuck with the faulty version? It looks like quite a few got the faulty one....)

Ivan
The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

Last edited: Apr 07, 2013 08:24:04

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