Various Artists

Lost Legends of Surf Guitar, Vol. 1

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This collection of 20 surf instrumentals, all recorded in 1963 and 1964, is very much what you might expect of an anthology of lesser-known surf music on a quality reissue label such as Sundazed. That is, it's good, though not nearly as good as the very best '60s instrumental surf music anthologies, and can be confidently recommended to surf collectors. That's not only because it's rare (mostly originally done for very small labels) and pretty good, but also because even the biggest surf collectors won't have all of this, as eight of the tracks were previously unissued. There aren't many names among the artists that will strike chords of recognition, though the Pyramids of "Penetration" fame are here (with their Gary Usher-arranged 1963 cuts "Pressure" and "Contact"); Jim Messina was part of the Jesters, whose previously unissued recording of "The Jester" was produced and co-written by the then-teenaged prodigy; and the Original Surfaris (not to be confused with the Surfaris of "Wipe Out" fame), the Centurions, and Dave Myers all have their devotees among surf fanatics. There aren't many truly killer cuts, though the finest trademarks of surf music -- the monstrously reverbed guitar, the Latin and Middle Eastern-inflected melodies, the sleek tempos -- are in force more or less throughout. But there are some numbers that would stand comfortably on any cream-of-the-'60s surf collection, like the Chandelles' "El Gato" (produced in New Mexico by ex-Buddy Holly producer Norman Petty) and Dave Myers' "Gear," with the almost military crunch of its rhythms.

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