Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Big Surf Hits - Del-Fi Records - 1963

This is the first in what will be a series of posts that I will spread out over the coming months. About 10 years ago Del-Fi records repressed a bunch of their catalog for audiophiles. For those who don't know, Del-Fi specialized in surf and hot rod music in the early 60's. This was authentic southern California surf rock. It wasn't the slick music That The Beach Boys made popular. These were the bands that played parties and clubs where surfers hung out.

I happened to get a bunch of these records for free when they came out and were some of the first records I got when I started really collecting vinyl. They were also amongst the first records I digitized when I got that technology.

This first record is a best of sampler from the label. It has all the best songs from the bands on the Del-Fi roster. Some highlights are "Wipe Out" by the Impacts. Most of you may know this from the Surfaris, but from what I've read, The Impacts did this song first and wrote it. The Surfari's then stole it and turned it into a mega hit the following year. Yes the music business is cruel and evil even amongst the surfer crowd. Read more here or here.

My favorite discovery track is the "Original Surfer Stomp" by the Surf Stompers. It just sounds like a party. I also love the little 3 note guitar riff hook. The song just sounds like surfers having fun after a long day of great waves.

Many will recognize "Surf Rider" by The Lively Ones and "Bullwinkle Part II" by The Centurians. Quentin Tarantino used both of these tunes to great effect in "Pulp Fiction". They are complete classics and radiate cool.

"Church Key" is good. It is a surf rock staple. It is on several of the Del-Fi records I have by different artists.

"Undertow" is awesome. It starts off racing like a train, driving and driving. This would be some great music for some chase in a super hip heist film or something. This is a composition by Lalo Schifrin who is a well accomplished film composer perhaps best known for the theme to "Mission Impossible", but he's done a lot of amazing scores. For more on Lalo visit his official website.

"Hillbilly Surf" tears is up. Great sax. It also has parts that remind me of "Surfin' USA", but a little rawer and sexier.

"Moment Of Truth" has a great machine gun guitar. Also a song I could imagine in a Tarantino or Rodriguez film. It has drive and drama all rolled into a Southern California sandwich. It also just feels like someone is running from the law.

The Surf Stompers give a great performance of "Green Onions". Again this recording sounds like it was recorded at a party or a club on the beach. It is very live.

"Watermelon Man" actually sounds like it is a Quincey Jones song and I mean that as high praise. I know that sounds maybe a bit weird for a surf song, but give it a listen and you'll see what I mean. As it turns out the song is actually a Herbie Hancock song, which explains a lot.

Gee I wrote about almost every song. I hope I didn't spoil it for you. I hope this inspires you to give these a listen and to then seek out more music by these artists. Until then, get on you swimsuit and get out your surfboard to wax while you groove on these ditties of the past.


01 Wipe Out - The Impacts.mp3
02 Big Surf - The Sentinals.mp3
03 Original Surfer Stomp - The Surf Stompers.mp3
04 Surf Rider - The Lively Ones.mp3
05 Bullwinkle P. II - The Centurians.mp3
06 Church Key - Dave Meyers And The Surftones.mp3
07 Undertow - The Surf Mariachis.mp3
08 Hillbillie Surf - The Lively Ones.mp3
09 Blue Surf - The Impacts.mp3
10 Moment Of Truth - Dave Meyers And The Surftones.mp3
11 Green Onions - The Surf Stompers.mp3
12 Watermelon Man - The Surf Mariachis.mp3

Here's the whole thing in one zip file. Big Surf Hits - 1964.zip

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