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Jan & Dean - Golden Summer Days

Jan & Dean - Golden Summer Days

The bulk of Golden Summer Days is drawn from the original soundtrack to the television movie Dead Man's Curve, which was based on the story of Jan & Dean. Much of the music is performed by a group of surf music superstars and studio musicians -- including Dean Torrence, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Bruce Johnston, John Cowsill, and Gary Griffin -- who perform under the name the Legendary Masked Surfers. Most of the music on Golden Summer Days was intended for use in the film, but didn't survive the final cut. It's a fun listen, but basically the album is just a curiosity for surf fans.
Jan & Dean - Golden Summer Days

Jan & Dean - Golden Summer Days

The Tornados -Telstar: The Original Sixties Hits of the Tornados

The Tornados -Telstar: The Original Sixties Hits of the Tornados

One of the saddest stories in rock & roll history surrounds the Tornados, an instrumental group from Britain. Although there were other groups with the same name (see listing for their American surf-band counterparts), this batch of Tornados were the creation of British producer Joe Meek. Meek was England's first independent producer, being equal parts Thomas Edison, Phil Spector, and Ed Wood. An inveterate tinkerer, he designed his own compression units and microphone pre-amps, giving his productions their own distinct sound. Setting up a homemade studio in a three-story flat on Holloway Road in London, Meek pioneered such recording techniques as close miking of instruments, distortion, his aforementioned trademark compression, loud drums fortified by percussion from pocket combs, milk bottles, and stomping the floorboards himself. He put together the original Tornados in late 1961 as a studio session group, its original lineup consisting of Alan Caddy and George Bellamy on guitars, Roger LaVern on organ, Heinz Burt on bass, and Clem Cattini on drums. After one single flopped, Meek had the group do one of his compositions, an instrumental called "Telstar." Utilizing willful distortion, cheap tape echo, beeping satellite sound effects, a cheesy-sounding Clavioline (a two-octave keyboard powered by a battery), and massive amounts of tube compression, the resulting production sounded like nothing else at the time, or since. It became the first number one record on the American charts by a British rock group and ended up selling five million copies worldwide. It should have made Meek a millionaire and the Tornados a household name. But a French copyright infringement suit kept all royalties tied up for six years, and the Tornados were kept from touring the United States behind their international hit due to a contract employing them as a backup group to U.K. pretty boy Billy Fury. By the time the dust settled, the Tornados had gone hitless for several years, and so had Joe Meek. After numerous personnel changes, the original members scattered to various groups, Heinz Burt starting his own solo career and Cattini becoming a British session mainstay of producer Shel Talmy. The copyright infringement suit was ruled in Meek's favor six years later, a year after he had blown his face off with a hunting rifle after murdering his landlady, ending his life in his beloved but debt-ridden studio.

The Tornados -Telstar: The Original Sixties Hits of the Tornados

This is the kind of compilation that EMI later became well known for, pairing off A- and B-sides, and it's probably the best way to follow the development of the Tornados on a single CD, although the tracing is a bit difficult, owing to the fact that the order is a bit shuffled. The producers have elected to put the group's first and biggest hit, "Telstar," out in front with its B-side and shift the group's failed preceding single, "Popeye Twist" b/w "Love and Fury," to the final two slots on the 18-song CD. Everything else is more or less in chronological order, although they've busted up the order of the U.K. singles by inserting the U.S.-generated single "Ridin' the Wind" into the lineup, but as it's similar to "Telstar," no one's likely to mind. It's fascinating to try and perceive (and understand) the differences between the two countries' audiences and airwaves -- while "Ridin' the Wind," for all of its similarities to "Telstar," only reached number 63 on the U.S. charts, tracks like "Globetrotter," "Robot," and "The Ice Cream Man" shot well into the Top 20 (or even the Top Ten) in England and stayed on the charts for months; oddly enough, the latter instrumental bears some similar characteristics to an Elvis Presley hit, the Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman-authored "His Latest Flame," which had charted two years earlier. Beyond this point in their history, the group's fortunes turned decidedly downward, due to the departure of various key members, starting with bassist Heinz Burt, though their sound remained intact, and a lot of what's here is nothing less than gorgeous. "Dreamin' on a Cloud," "Honey Pot," "Joystick," and others all display the group's distinctive metallic/melodic sound, built around memorable hooks and strong playing; but despite the quality of their work, one gets the sense that after 1963 they were being outmanned and outgunned by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Dave Clark Five, and such bands for the attention of listeners and space on the airwaves. Contrary to what the notes claim, the one odd LP track in their output, "All the Stars in the Sky" from the movie (and soundtrack album) Just For Fun, is not present on this reviewer's copy or any other copy he has seen, although one can get that track on the Repertoire Records double-CD set Telstar: The Complete Tornados. That flaw aside, the annotation is excellent and the whole CD is a lightweight delight with decidedly heavier-weight musical allure. For seven out of ten potential listeners, it'll be all you could possibly want to hear.


V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD

Lost Legends of Surf Guitar, Vol. 1 2003

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD

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.

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD

Lost Legends of Surf Guitar, Vol. 2 2003

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD

Like its predecessor in the Lost Legends of Surf Guitar series, this serves up an assortment of instrumental surf rarities from the early '60s, all of the 20 tracks on this compilation recorded between 1962 and 1964. It's a little less impressive than the first volume, not for reasons that are too obvious, but just due to a general lower level of energy, imagination, and devastating riffs. For surf enthusiasts, however, it's not bad at all, and there are a good deal of names here that made their mark on rock history, even if the Trashmen and the Surfaris are the only ones who had surf music hits. David Marks & the Marksmen, for instance, led by just-ex-Beach Boy Marks, are represented by a couple of previously unissued 1963 recordings; Scott Engel, who did the 1963 single "Devil Surfer," would later become Scott Walker, as part of the Walker Brothers and then a solo star; Michael Lloyd was in the New Dimensions; Terry Melcher produced the Catalinas' "Banzai Washout"; and Jerry Cole was a prolific Los Angeles session man. There are also a couple of previously unreleased 1963 Surfaris cuts, though these are unremarkable covers of Link Wray's "Jack the Ripper" and Duane Eddy's "Yep." As is the custom on these anthologies, some tracks make bigger ripples than others, with some really tough and fast playing on Cole's "Point Panic" and Gene "The Draggin' King" Moles' "Burning Rubber." In contrast, Jan Davis' "Boss Machine" effectively slows the pace down to a cooler, moodier vibe, and Engel/Walker's "Devil Surfer"'s strings and wordless corny pop backup vocals are odd rejoinders to the manic laughs (of the devil, one supposes) that supply the tune's main gimmick.

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD


Lost Legends of Surf Guitar, Vol. 3 2003

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD

Lost Legends of Surf Guitar, Vol. 3 is narrower in focus than the previous two volumes of the series, being devoted to 1962-1964 tracks produced by Richard Delvy (who played in a couple surf bands, the Challengers and the Bel-Airs, himself). It also acts as a document of much of the surf music being made in the early '60s on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and South Bay south of Los Angeles. As a possible consequence, however, the music isn't quite as interesting or varied as it is on the first two Lost Legends of Surf Guitar volumes. Too, it's entirely lacking in big names, even big names just passing through on their way to bigger non-surf things; the Challengers are the best-known band on this 20-track comp, and they're not exactly too famous, particularly outside surf specialist circles. So for surf specialists only this might be, although the music's certainly respectable, if not in the upper echelon of '60s surf anthologies. There's a lot of twang, reverb, and raunchy sax here; it's just that the melodies are often on the generic side. On hand are three previously unissued tracks by Thom Starr & the Galaxies (their "Heatwave" is actually an appropriately titled scorcher, and no relation to the Motown classic of the same name), with most of the rest having appeared only on 45s on very small labels or obscure LPs and compilations.

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD

Lost Legends of Surf Guitar: Shockwave 2005

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD

Much like '60s garage rock, there seems to be an inexhaustible supply of great surf instrumental sides from the classic era still waiting to be rediscovered, and the fourth volume in Sundazed's superb Lost Legends of Surf Guitar series features 20 great sides that have somehow avoided being anthologized to death (in fact, three cuts on this compilation have never been released before). Opening up with the amazing reverb abuse of Zorba & the Greeks' "Shockwave" (and no, that's not a joke -- just check out that glorious noise), this compilation offers up some lovely examples of surf guitar in the classic style (check out the moody "The Truant" by the Truants, "Volcanic Action" from the Bel-Airs, and the reverb-drenched "The Hearse" from Al Casey), as well as a few entertaining oddities (the amusingly ominous "Fall Out" from the Stage-Men, the glorious Ventures rip of Jan Davis' "Verti-Go-Go," and a hard-stompin' cover of "Walk Don't Run '64" by the Teemates). As you'd expect from Sundazed, the track selection is choice, the audio is excellent, and the liner notes from surf archivist John Blair are entertaining and fact-filled. Lost Legends of Surf Guitar: Shockwave is a real treat for non-hodads everywhere -- grab your board and toss this disc in the player while the waves are up!

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD


Vol. More Lost Legends of Surf Guitar  2005

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD

V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CD



The Englishmen ‎– ... Summer Is Here(1966)

The Englishmen ‎– ... Summer Is Here(1966)


There's no telling exactly where the Englishmen hailed from, although it's an almost certain bet that it wasn't from England or any points outside the United States. Apart from the fact that they were signed to Calvin Newton's Justice Records label in Winston-Salem, NC -- which sort of indicates a base of operations for the band somewhere around the Mason-Dixon Line -- they also didn't sound terribly English. Wherever they originated, the band left behind one LP's worth of songs, all done in a solid garage band vein of the period, including an enthusiastic (almost "Louie Louie"-style) rendition of "96 Tears" and a classy and restrained instrumental version of "The Girl From Ipanema." Singer/guitarist John Workman, then 27, was the group's leader, Tommy Howard was their lead guitarist, Warren Daniels made bass and sang backup, Tommy Medlin played the organ and sang backup as well as handling incidental percussion, and 16-year-old Ronnie Wheeler was their drummer, who proved his worth on that same rendition of "96 Tears," as well as his extended solo on "Penetration." As singers, they weren't much, either of style or intonation, though for ? & the Mysterians hit or their cover of "Long Tall Texan," they didn't need to be, either (at least in the intonation department). On "Yes I'm Ready" and "Summer Is Here," they did need some help to bring out whatever worth the songs had. They were a solid instrumental outfit, however, romping and stomping through their own "The Englishmen Theme" (a kind of Bo Diddley meets Dick Dale piece with some very animated drumming), and turning in surprisingly elegant versions of "The Girl From Ipanema," "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky," and "Unchained Melody."

The Englishmen ‎– ... Summer Is Here(1966)


Summer Is Here is a surprisingly strong album from the vaults of Justice Records in North Carolina, showcasing this quintet in generally fine style, with not only a raucous "96 Tears" but a handful of eloquent yet nicely rocking instrumentals. Mostly the guitars (courtesy of Tommy Howard and John Workman) are in the spotlight, though organist Tommy Medlin also gets to step into the spotlight. Vocally, they do best on the real garage rock classics, although "Catch the Wind" also comes out decently, their harmonies kind of meshing in ways that they don't elsewhere, and it might've made a good single if they'd done the song at a slightly faster tempo. The recording quality is also above average for this tape library, and these boys were at least worth checking out on a Saturday night back in 1966, which makes them worth a listen or two today as well.

The Trashmen - Bird Dance Beat (1964) Plus





A Minneapolis rock & roll band, they evolved from Jim Thaxter & the Travelers, recording one single under that name ("Sally Jo"/"Cyclone"). The group comprises Tony Andreason (lead guitar), Dan Winslow (guitar/ vocals), Bob Reed (bass), and Steve Wahrer (drums/vocals). Unfairly depicted as a novelty act, the Trashmen were in actuality a top-notch rock & roll combo, enormously popular on the teen club circuit, playing primarily surf music to a landlocked Minnesota audience. Drummer Steve Wahrer combined two songs by the Rivingtons ("The Bird's the Word" and "Pa Pa Ooh Mow Mow"), added freakish vocal effects and a pounding rhythm to the mix, and, by early 1964, the group was in the Top Ten nationwide with "Surfin' Bird." Though the group continued to release great follow-up singles and an excellent album, their moment in the sun had come and gone; they disbanded by late 1967/early 1968. They re-formed in the mid-'80s and continued to play locally until Wahrer's death. the Trashmen are revered by '60s collectors as one of the great American teen band combos of all time, their lone hit exemplifying wild, unabashed rock & roll at its most demented, bare-bones-basic, lone-E-chord finest.



The Trashmen - Bird Dance Beat (1964) 

The only album released by the Trashmen during their lifetime actually outstrips most of the Southern California-based competition, due to the ferocious grit of the playing and a vaguely demented, go-for-broke recklessness. 



The Trashmen - Henrietta 7''



Merrell & The Exiles - Wild In The Desert (1964-66)

Merrell & The Exiles - Wild In The Desert (1964-66)

Formed in Lancaster, California, USA, in 1963, Merrell And The Exiles were formed by Merrell Fankhauser (vocals/guitar), Mark Thompson (guitar), Larry Willey (bass) and Randy Wymer (drums). Their first two singles, ‘Send Me Your Love’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Girl’, echoed the folk rock style of the Searchers. Jeff Cotton (guitar), John Day (organ) and John French (drums) took over from the rest of the band and supported Fankhauser on ‘Sorry For Yourself’ (1965), which won the dance contest on Dick Clark’s television programme American Bandstand. ‘Can’t We Get Along’ (1966) was the Exiles’ last single. Fankhauser then recorded a handful of tracks with various musicians which, when compiled with several Exiles’ masters, were released without his consent as Fapardokly. He then formed a new group, Merrell Fankhauser And HMS Bounty with another refugee from the Impacts, Bill Dodd. Of the other former Exiles, both Wymer and Willey joined in Mu, while John French and Jeff Cotton achieved fame as members of Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band.

Merrell & The Exiles - Wild In The Desert (1964-66)

The Impacts / Merrell & The Exiles - Desert Island Treasures

The Impacts / Merrell & The Exiles - Desert Island Treasures

Desert Island Treasures collects the earliest recordings of veteran California guitarist Merrell Fankhauser with his surf band the Impacts and beat group Merrell and the Exiles. Both groups are excellent representatives of their given styles; the Impacts (circa 1963) were a tight surf unit with ripping sax and wild guitar, while the Exiles' material, recorded between 1964 and 1965, has a harder edge than many popular American groups attempting a British Invasion sound. Exiles guitarist Jeff Cotton would go on to play with Captain Beefheart before rejoining Fankhauser in the early-'70s band Mu. The music of Merrell Fankhauser is absolutely essential to any American '60s rock collection, be it these groups or his later psychedelic folk rock with Fapardokly and H.M.S. Bounty or progressive rock with Mu.


A1–The Impacts-Shreader
A2–The Impacts-Switzerland
A3–The Impacts-Kon Tiki
A4–The Velvetones-Mr. X
A5–Merrell & The Exiles-She's Gone
A6–Merrell & The Exiles-Shake My Hand
A7–Merrell & The Exiles-Let Me Go
B1–Merrell & The Exiles-Please Be Mine
B2–Merrell & The Exiles-Pain In My Heart
B3–Merrell & The Exiles-Long Long Time
B4–Merrell & The Exiles-Remember Me
B5–Merrell & The Exiles-Be A Good Neighbor Week
B6–James Burton Band-Burtons Jam


The Impacts / Merrell & The Exiles - Desert Island Treasures

Eddie and The Showmen - Squad Car

Eddie and The Showmen - Squad Car




Eddie & the Showmen were an American surf rock band of the 1960s. Formed in Southern California by Eddie Bertrand, formerly of The Belairs, they released several singles on Liberty. Their highest-charting single in Los Angeles was "Mr. Rebel", which reached number four on the Wallichs Music City Hit List on February 10, 1964. Another big hit, "Squad Car", was a cover version of a Belairs track. The band originally formed because Bertrand wanted to move on from the Belairs. While the Belairs had focused more on guitar interplay, and a moderate sound, Eddie & the Showmen played more in the style of Dick Dale with a prominent lead guitar and heavy sound. The band's original drummer was former Mousketeer Dick Dodd, who later joined The Standells. One of the guitar players, Larry Carlton, later became a famous jazz guitarist; another was Rob Edwards of Colours; he would later contribute the title track for the surf movie, 'Pacific Vibrations'. 

Eddie and The Showmen - Squad Car

Jan & Dean - Golden Summer DaysThe Tornados -Telstar: The Original Sixties Hits of the TornadosThe Ventures & The  Fabulous Wailers - Two Car Garage (50 Years Of Rock 'N Roll)V.A. - Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 4CDThe Englishmen ‎– ... Summer Is Here(1966)The Trashmen - Bird Dance Beat (1964) PlusMerrell & The Exiles - Wild In The Desert (1964-66)The Impacts / Merrell & The Exiles - Desert Island Treasures Eddie and The Showmen - Squad CarVA-Toes On The Nose ~ 32 Surf Age Instrumentals

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