The Surfaris

Hit City 64/Fun City USA

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Two 1964 albums by the Surfaris, Hit City 64 and Fun City USA, are combined onto one 24-track CD on this release. The best tracks (which tend to be the instrumental ones) have been cherry-picked for use on Surfaris CD compilations, which are recommended far more than their original LPs, which like many from the time were erratic and stuffed with filler. The material does, however, include some pretty decent instrumentals on which drummer Ron Wilson, in particular shines, like "Scatter Shield," "Scratch," "Burnin' Rubber," and "Big Surge." The vocal cuts, in contrast, are largely dispensable, especially overdone covers like "Louie Louie" and "Hound Dog"; too, trying to cover the Beach Boys on "Little Deuce Coupe" and "Be True to Your School" is a lost cause. Ron Wilson (also the principal lead singer) and the gang do come through on "Hot Rod High," one of the best vocal hot rod tunes not done by the Beach Boys or Jan & Dean (and penned by hot rod rock stalwarts Gary Usher and Roger Christian), though it owes more than a little to "Surf City."

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