Various Artists: The Birth of Surf Guitar Vol 3 (Ace/Border)

 |   |  1 min read

The Surfaris: Storm Surf
Various Artists: The Birth of Surf Guitar Vol 3 (Ace/Border)

It seems odd that surf guitar rock should be so enduring.

For some it was just a brief phenomenon of the late Fifties/early Sixties but here at Elsewhere we've recently written about surf guitar rock influences (sometimes with a weird spaghetti western spin) in bands out of Israel, Spain, Croatia and of course the USA and New Zealand.

This 26 track collection goes back to origins with twang'n'strum instrumentals between '59 and '66 with a few well-known names in the mix (Dick Dale, the Riptides, the Surfaris and the Avengers).

And it's not all Wipe Out speed because surf guitars lend themselves to late afternoon reverie as the sun sets behind the horizon (Lone Survivor by the Beachcombers, the astral sounding, Spanish-influenced Christina by the Charades band) or broody downbeat moods (The Marauder by Marrell's Marauders out of Wisconsin).

Curiously too, a lot of these bands come from places you wouldn't usually associate with sandy fun-fun-fun-in-sun, like New York.

As always with such collections, if you read the excellent liner notes names appear in these bands who would go on to great fame as artists or producers: Daryl Dragon (Beach Boys), Gary Usher (producer of Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly), Glen Campbell and Bruce Johnson (session work, Beach Boys), Michael Lloyd, Jimmy Greenspoon and Danny Belsky of the New Dimensions went on to form the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and then separately into production (Osmonds, Sinatra) . . .

And among the players on Flaming Guitar by Billy Mure are Tommy Mottola and Al Caiola.

Some borrowed boards here too: riffs and melodies come from Bo Diddley, Dick Dale, Tequila, More Surf by the deFenders is essentially the MOR ballad more given a spray of surf . . .  

Of course all the most famous surf guitar tracks were taken care of on the first volume of this series, but this collection not only proves the depth of and breadth of the genre but also when the tremelo really kicks in, the durability.

Surf music was where many aspiring American guitarists got their start . . . and this collection makes you think that maybe Jimi Hendrix was wrong. 

Share It

Your Comments

Mick - Jan 22, 2016

Thanks for this. Surf guitar is one of my favourite genres of music. Check out the Australian band The Atlantics as well as the Break.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Infectious)

Alt-J: An Awesome Wave (Infectious)

These days genre-ignoring bands are so common they require no introduction or explanation. But few are as provocative as Alt-J out of Cambridge, England who pull together slivers of... > Read more

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

CUBA; THE SIGHTS, SOUNDS, FLAVORS AND FACES by PIERRE HAUSHERR AND FRANCOIS MISSEN

CUBA; THE SIGHTS, SOUNDS, FLAVORS AND FACES by PIERRE HAUSHERR AND FRANCOIS MISSEN

With the geriatric Fidel Castro literally shuffling off the stage leaving it to his brother Raul and a cadre of elders, these look like the end days of the Cuba which has existed in proud but... > Read more

Let It Be; A Beatles Celebration, Civic Theatre, Auckland, March 26 2015

Let It Be; A Beatles Celebration, Civic Theatre, Auckland, March 26 2015

There's a very simple answer to the question of why people go to tribute shows. They go to hear the familiar music . . . and to check out how well the performers... > Read more