Rare West Coast Surf Instrumentals CD
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Top Customer Reviews
No wonder these tracks are rare - most of them are totally uninspired, and VERY few of them even sound like surf music, despite the names of the groups involved.
One problem may be that ALL of the tracks were put out on Titan Records, which means you get a pretty limited range of sounds right from the off. In fact it looks like most of the tracks are the A side and the B side of the same records.
So what? You may ask. The Surfmen are just one of the acts featured on this album, and they made "El Toro" - surely an authentic "surf sound".
And the answer is "yes", but that's one of the best tracks in this collection which even the Surfman don't equal in any of their other appearances. In fact one of their tracks - 'Malibu Run' (Titan 1727, 1962) - sounds like nothing more than a lightly edited version of their slightly earlier 'Paradise Cove' (Titan 1723, 1962).
Another problem is that this isn't really a collection of surfing records, IMO.
The front cover describes the CD as "Rare West Coast SURF Instrumentals" - which is kinda strange given that the far more accurate back cover description has a heading that reads: "Rare West Coast Surf and Rock'n'Roll Instrumentals making their first-ever CD appearance".
IMO there's a LOT more rock'n'roll than surf, not to mention the fact that two of these "instrumentals" actually feature vocals sung by Gary Usher (both from the same record: Titan 1716, 1961).
So, if you like West Coast Rock'n'Roll of 1959-1963 this might be just the thing you've been looking for. If you're after the surf sound you might be rather disappointed.
Nothing was known about the groups and there was nothing like today's information.
What we've learned since is that these were actually studio concoctions mostly created by now known names like Gary Usher and had the same impact and intention in the States on labels like Titan and Custom.By the 70s they were being offloaded into the UK being used as ship ballast.
Woolworths sold the Allegro label while in the States the LPs would be used for rack jobbing.
It wasn't just surf but general instrumentals and the only way they were surf is because it may have said so on the sleeve but these were cashins same as the Bell label had been issuing in the 50s as a series of EPs.What became big business in the States created an entire family of labels from its parent one Spar which culminated in the HIT label.
Today the CD Age has made these collectable and we know just who the names were behind the Soundalikes.In a reversal of the usual the CD reissues are worth more than the vinyl
The Storms however were real enough-they were the road band of Jody Reynolds with a pre fame Bobbie Gentry in the lineup while the Strangers-one of many of this name-were founded by one Joel Hill,a country star who was the cousin of Jeanette Hicks who made duets with George Jones and for who he played lead guitar on the Louisiana Hayride.Closest they came to a hit was Caterpillar Crawl-originally called Cockroach but they were ordered to change it as the title was considered to be in bad taste!Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Other surf rock, or surf instrumental compilations I recommend for those who love the surf rock sound are:
The Birth Of Surf, Volume 1 and 2
Big Surf (OOP)
Toes On The Nose
Cowabunga 4CD set (OOP)
Rock Instrumental Classics Volume 5, Surf
Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar Volumes 1-4
Rare Surf 1-6
If you buy all those, for sure there will be some overlap, but not a lot. It will be worth it!
This collection does contain some rare West Coast surf music,from the small Titan Records label. This was one of a myriad of small,independent record companies in the late 50's/early 60's that released surf music hoping to cash-in on the surf/instrumental craze (which only lasted a short time),then coming into vogue. Usually the vast numbers of these groups (THE SURFMEN,THE STRANGERS,THE STORMS,THE PLAYBOYS,among others), sold their records only locally,or at best,regionally. Very few of these groups made it to the national level in sales. It's interesting that (the late) Gary Usher (heard here),who was responsible (and famous) for dozens of teen records (both instrumental and vocal),made his first recordings for Titan.
The tracks here range from up-beat instrumentals,to slower,atmospheric tunes,which are very evocative of their time. This gives this collection added depth and appeal. Besides Usher,probably the most well known musician appearing here (courtesy of Kim Fowley) is Ritchie Blackmore (first guitarist in DEEP PURPLE),playing with an English pick-up group called THE LANCASTERS. This was a three-piece band originally called THE SUPERSTITIONS. The two singles (which have some good guitar),from 1964,went basically nowhere,even after being sold to Titan for U.S. release. The only other musician listeners might recognize is Davie Allan,known for his intense fuzz-styled guitar sound with his group THE ARROWS. Allan's two tracks are easily recognized by his guitar playing.
But no matter who the groups were,the music in this collection has a certain sound and feel that raises it above the typical surf music collection. If you're looking for some great guitar music with that twangy sound,with the standard honking sax,this is it. It would make a good addition to almost anyone's musical library of surf music. It's good period music,especially if you live near the ocean and can remember the era. If you can't relive those times,or aren't near the ocean-this music will transport you there. Cowabunga-pray for surf!