Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Surfing records

The UK isn't really known for its surfing culture (apart from the north Cornwall coast) so to some extent the surf music craze of the early sixties passed us by, with the obvious exception of the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean and a few hit 45s such as Pipeline and Wipeout. But there's no doubt that surfing records, and the discs celebrating cars and the drag racing scene that followed in their wake, left a big impression and are still influential today.
At today's car boot I picked up several LPs by the Ventures, who made quite a few surf instrumentals, and an interesting US-only surf LP by the Tornadoes (the California version, not the Joe Meek group), so I thought I would feature a few of the key surfing bands on the blog this time, along with links to Youtube. There are some fantastic tracks here, so feel free to surf the net.
1. The Tornadoes - Bustin' Surfboards. US-only LP released on Josie. The Tornadoes, from Redlands, California, were one of the earliest surf bands and had a hit with the title track of this album in 1962. The follow up, Shootin' Beavers, was banned by radio stations because of its suggestive title, and the band was forced to change its name because of the success of the UK Tornados. Bustin' Surfboards was featured in Pulp Fiction in 1994.
2. The Ventures - Surfing. LP released on Liberty 1150 in 1963.  Mint value £22. The Ventures had huge success throughout the sixties and later, especially in Japan, and although not originally a surf band their music certainly fitted in with its style. Their Surfing LP featured a number of tracks which became surf classics, including The Ninth Wave and Surf Rider.
3. The Surfaris - Wipe Out. LP released on Dot in the US (London in the UK).  California band the Surfaris had a world wide hit in 1963 with Wipe Out, complete with manic laugh at the start, and its excellent B side Surfer Joe. Despite several further 45s and LPs they never repeated that early success.
4. The Lively Ones - Surf Drums. LP released on London in 1963.  Mint value £70. Another California band, the Lively Ones recorded for Del-Fi and their version of the Ventures' Surf Rider (title track of their follow up album) was another one used in Pulp Fiction. Surprisingly I can't find any tracks from the Surf Drums LP on Youtube, so here is Surf Rider.
5. Dick Dale & the Deltones - Surf Beat/ Peppermint Man Mint value £20. Some 45s now and this is Dick Dale, the 'king of the surf guitar', who had a heavily amplified reverb guitar style which went on to influence many later guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix.
 6. The Beach Boys - Surfin' USA/ Shut Down.  Mint value £20. No need to go into detail about the wonderful Beach Boys, the greatest surf band of them all. Just listen and enjoy.  Great car song on the flip.
 7. The Mar-Kets - Surfer's Stomp/ Start.  Mint value £15.  The Mar-Kets (or Marketts as they became) were another instrumental California group who made some classic surf records, including Balboa Blue and Out Of Limits.
 8. The Chantays - Pipeline/ Move It.   Mint value £8. One of the biggest hits of the surf era by this California band.
 9. The Trashmen - King of the Surf/ Surfin' Bird.  Mint value £35. If the A side was a rip off of Papa Ooo Mow Mow crossed with The Bird's The Word, this B side was a pretty straight copy of Johnny B Goode, with a bit of Surfin' USA. The Trashmen were from Minnesota - a long way from the ocean - but they made some great records, which have been revived over and over again.
 10. Jan and Dean - Ride The Wild Surf/ The Anaheim Azusa & Cucamonga Sewing Circle Book Review & Timing Association. Mint value £10. No introduction needed for Jan and Dean, who recorded some of the greatest surf and drag records of the era, including Surf City, Drag City, Dead Man's Curve and Honolulu Lulu.
 11. The Rivieras - California Sun/ H B Goose Step. Mint value £45. From Indiana, the Rivieras had a big US hit with this great slice of rock and roll.
 12. Al Casey with the K-C Ettes - Surfin' Hootenanny/ Easy Pickin'. Mint value £12. The man behind the hits of Duane Eddy and Sanford Clark demonstrated his guitar abilities, mimicking the styles of Dick Dale and the Ventures, as well as Eddy, on this record, with vocal backing by the Blossoms.
 13. The Challengers - Walk With Me/ How Could I? Mint value £10. Formed out of an early California surf band the Bel-Airs, the Challengers had a successful instrumental surf  album called Surfbeat, but this later release is more in the pop genre. Here's a track called Surf-Ari.
 14. The Atlantics - Bombara/ Greensleeves.  Mint value £12. California wasn't the only place to celebrate surfing - Australia joined in too, with this instrumental by Sydney band The Atlantics, which was a big hit down under.
 15. Ronny & the Daytonas - G.T.O/ Hot Rod Baby. Mint value £25. A couple of car songs, with this excellent track from a band from Nashville (despite their name).
 16. The Rip Chords - Hey Little Cobra/ The Queen. Mint value £30. Another car classic, this time by a band that included at various times CBS producer Terry Melcher and Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. The story of the band is worth an article in itself, but this 45, along with Here I Stand, Gone and Three Window Coupe show their class.
 17. The Hondells - Go Little Honda - US only LP.Another excellent California band, this time in praise of a Honda motor bike.


At 8:44 pm , Anonymous john S said...

Some nice surfing records there Nick; I'm a big fan of the Rivieras 'California Sun' - what a great dance record.

At 10:15 pm , Blogger john marriott said...

Haven't got the Atlantics one. I think that's pretty rare. Didn't know they were Australian so thats pretty good and now don't have to bother with it. I too have also always loved California Sun.
Nice bunch of 45's and typically interesting comments Nick


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