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In the early 1990s a new wave of surf music swelled around San Francisco and then washed across the globe. At the center of the action was Phil Dirt and his surf radio show on KFJC 89.7 FM. Phil supported the bands and the scene with his weekly broadcast and sponsoring of live performances. Phil's online resource Reverb Central is an essential reference for surf and related instrumental music. The Mermen were the heart of the local scene with their powerful take on surf. Laika & the Cosmonauts from Finland and The Surf Coasters from Japan represent the international scene. The bands here primarily wrote their own songs and paid tribute to surf music roots with the occasional cover of classics such as "Baja" by The Neon Spores. Surf's Up!
Here is a set of favorite surf instrumentals released between 1960 and 1965, surf music's heyday. Emanating from sun-baked Southern California, surf music featured Fender guitars played through Fender amps and outboard reverb units (for that shimmering "wet" sound) backed by fluid bass and lively drumming. Across these 15 instros the bands display a remarkable variety of styles showcasing their individual approach to the "surfing sound". Dick Dale, king of the surf guitar, kicks it off with his powerful tune "The Wedge". The Sentinals "Latin'ia" shows some Latin influence. "6-Pak" by The Sandals is from the epic surfing movie of that time, "The Endless Summer". Endless thrills. Hang ten.
This set ratchets up the action with instrumentals featuring loud and brash fuzz guitars. Way back in the 1930's blues players discovered the power and warmth of an electric guitar driven to distortion. Fuzztone picks up this thread with Link Wray who pummeled amps with searing instrumentals beginning in the late 1950's. Davie Allan hit the fuzz trail with "Blues Theme" a song he wrote for the 1966 biker movie The Wild Angels. Over forty years later "The Toxic Terror" finds Allan still creating instro heat. In the 1990's the Northwest spawned The Mono Men and The Galaxy Trio who revived the no-frills muscular instrumental. Recently, Norway's Hedvig Mollestad and her scorching guitar have been streaking towards the stratosphere. Put on your helmet.
Featuring instrumental guitar music from 1958 to 2008, this collection presents the wide-open West exquisitely rendered through riveting electric guitars, washes of reverb, galloping beats, and the occasional Spanish flare. The early years are anchored in the spaghetti western films and dramatic music by the likes of Ennio Morricone and Al Caiola who utilized the electric guitar to great effect. This tradition of evocative Western music has been carried on through the years by all sorts of guitar-based groups. Sometimes old classics are updated such as "El Cumbanchero" by The Dave and Deke Combo while tunes like "Lost Train" by Shig & Buzz are original additions to the style. Saddle up.
Danger lurks in this collection of sinister guitar-based instrumental music. Henri Mancini's "Peter Gunn Theme" from 1958 featured a menacing guitar riff and a few years later the "James Bond Theme", from the 1962 film Dr. No, cemented the electric guitar as the defining element of spy music. This collection, with songs from 1958 to 2009, explores the shadowy underworld of spies, private eyes, and secret agents with the guitar in many guises creating the tension and drama. With song titles like "Watch Out", "Cooper's Descent", and "Double-O Seafoam", mystery and intrigue are woven into every note. Listen carefully.
In the late 1950's and early 1960's the popularity of the electric guitar was reaching new heights. The blues players had long before shown the gritty power of the electric guitar but young people and rock and roll were reformulating guitar expression. Alongside were older musicians/composers equally fascinated by the electric guitar. Rooted in easy listening but with an undercurrent of wildness brought about by electricity these musicians experimented with the textures of the guitar and electronic effects in a variety of fascinating instrumental compositions. This collection spans the years 1957 - 1966 and features the music of Billy Mure and Buddy Merrill along with other guitarists such as Chet Atkins, Howard Roberts and Tommy Tedesco's group, The Guitars Inc. Strap in.