Various Artists

Diggin' Out

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When you get into compilations of rare local surf singles from the '60s, the problem is the same as it is when you get deeper and deeper into '60s garage compilations, or when you start to plumb the depths of any genre. The secondary anthologies are rarely as good as those with the most familiar/best material, and can sound kind of generic taken together all at once. These 18 sides are undeniably rare -- none of these groups were well known -- and the performances are uniformly energetic, with silvery guitar leads, raunchy sax, and middle Eastern/Latin melodic motifs in abundance. Not much of it is truly mind-blowing, however; unless surf is one of your specialties, you're better off sticking with the excellent surf compilations on Rhino. The unquestioned highlight is the Goldtones' "Gutterball/Strike" single, with wild steel guitar leads from Glen Campbell, who would later be a key member of the Misunderstood, one of the greatest unheralded psychedelic bands of the 1960s.