Been a while so here's a start to stay warm when the weather gets cold --
Monster wave of obscure ‘60s surf gems
Monster wave of obscure ‘60s surf gems
It’s no accident that this deluxe 4-CD set uses the word “Nuggets” in its title; this is an apt reference to Lenny Kaye’s landmark 1972 compilation of psychedelic and garage rock. An even better touchstone, however, is Bomp’s follow-on series of Pebbles releases, which dug deeper into the world of one-off local and indie releases. In that sense, Surf-Age Nuggets is the Pebbles (with a touch of Las Vegas Grind) to earlier anthologies of major label releases, hit singles and nationally-known acts. Producer James Austin (who previously helmed Rhino’s Cowabunga! The Surf Box), focuses here on the impossibly rare and ephemeral: obscure singles that barely managed local distribution, with just a hint of rarities from a couple of well-known names. The result is a magnificent musical essay on the scene that flourished in the wake of surf music’s brief rise to commercial popularity.
Dozens of earlier collections have explored this DIY wave, but never in the luxuriousness of this set. Not only are the discs stuffed with 104 tracks (including a sprinkle of period radio spots and a 16-minute bonus montage hidden at the end of disc four), but the collection is housed in a wide 11 x 6 hardcover with a 60-page book of liner, song and band notes, full-color photographs and reproductions of picture sleeves, posters, period ads, comics and other ephemera. Although the material was sourced primarily from early ‘60s vinyl, unlike the first-state (that is, pops-and-clicks intact) condition of many collections of vintage singles, mastering engineer Jerry Peterson worked some very special voodoo in cleaning up the digital transcriptions. The complete lack of surface noise is a bit eerie, but the results remain largely true to the powerhouse mono vibe of a vintage 45.
The selections are guitar-centric, beat-driven and up-tempo; a formula whose thousands of variations have yet to get old. This is the sound of four guys getting together in a garage, working up covers and a couple of originals, scoring a gig and getting a crack at recording. Being true to the period, what’s here isn’t all strictly surf music; there’s plenty of reverb-drenched Dick Dale-styled staccato picking, but instrumental rock was a bigger lineup into which musicians crowded from every state. California surf bands provided inspiration, but the twang of guitar slingers like Duane Eddy, Link Wray and Lonnie Mack also held sway. Most of these acts had brief careers, but this collection is more than a set of surf songs; it’s a soundtrack to an era in which surf culture captured the national attention, even among those who didn’t surf or listen to surf music. This is a document of a time when radios had only an AM band, and teen culture was on the rise. Paddle, turtle, hangout and catch this tasty wave!
DISC 1-01 The Velvetones-Doheny Run/02 The Shan-Tones-Sheba/03 The Valiants-
Jack the Ripper/04 Vasqueros-Echo/05 Johnny McCoy and the Cyclones-Scrub Bucket/06 Surf Teens-Moment of Truth/07 The Ramrods-Night Ride/08 The Emeralds-Earthquake/09 The Runabouts-Surfer's Fright/10 Avengers IV-Slaughter on 10th Avenue/11 The Phantons-X-L3/12 The Vistas-Moon Relay/13 The Scouts-Mr Custer Stomp/14 The Vibrants-The Breeze and I/15 4 of Us-Batman (Freefalling)/16 Chiyo and the Crescents-Pink Dominos/17 The Pace Setters-Mustang/18 The Reekers-Don't Call Me Fly Face/19 The Lincoln Trio-Garden of Eden part 2 20 Dick Dale and the Del-Tones-Jungle Fever/21 Vasqueros-80 Ft. Wave/22 Steve Rowe and the Fuyrs-Minor Chaos/23 Kan Dells-Cloudburst/24 KHJ Radio Jingle (1963)/25 The Roadrunners-Quasimoto
DISC 2-01 The Emotionals-Miserlou/02 The Revelairs-The Cruel Sea/03 The Surfaris-Kick Out/04 The Velvetone-Mr X/05 Robin and the Hoods-The Marauder/06 Vox Instruments Radio Commercial/07 The Ric-A-Shays-Turn On/08 The Travelers-Windy and Warm/ 09 The Vulcanes-Cozimoto/10 King Rock and the Knights-Scandal/11 Reveliers-Hanging Five/12 The Hollywoods-Scramble/13 The Mockers-Madalena/14 The Royal Coachmen-Loophole/15 Rich Clayton and the Rumbles-Flip Side/16 The Losers-Snake Eyes/17 The Carnations-Scorpion/18 The Gestics-Rockin Fury/19 Pipeline Pete-Commercial/20 The-Ron-De-Voos-Pipeline "66"/21 The Torquetts-Side-Swiped/22 Sinders-Sinner/23 The Royal Flairs-One Pine Box/24 The Nautiloids-Nautiloid Reef/25 Surfing Soft Drink Commercial
DISC 3-01 The Squires-Batmobile/02 The Roadrunners-Roadrunner/03 The Rhythm Surfers-502 (Like Getting Pinched on a 502)/04 The Ree-Gents-Downshiftin'/05 The Tradewinds-Gotcha/06 Irredescents-Swamp Surfer/07 The Creations-The Crash/08 Jerry and the Silvertones-Ce'ny/09 The Monzels-Sharkskin/10 THE HORROR OF PARTY BEACH TRAILER/11 The Vy-Dels-Unknown/12 The Countdowns-Do It/13 The Avants-Wax 'Em Down/14 The Cherokees-Uprisin'/15 The Royal Flairs-One Pine Box (Unreleased/Undubbed Version)/16 JAMES BOND TRAILER/17 The Twilights-.007/18 The Debonairs-High Wall/19 The Motivations-Motivate/20 The Persuaders-City of Atlantis/21 The Sherwoods-Tickler/22 TheSting Rays-One Mo' Gin/23 The Tempests-Lemon Line/24 Bobby Fuller-Stringer/25 The Vibrants-Scorpion/26 Newport Nomads-Blue Mallards /27 The Breakers-Jet Stream
DISC 4-01 Manuel and the Renegades-Rev-Up/02 The Telstars-Spaghetti Strap/03 THE BIRDS MOVIE TRAILER/04 The Motivations-The Birds/05 The Frogmen-Beware Below/06 The Hollywood Surfers-King of the Stomp/07 Charades Band-Sophia/08 Calvin Cool-El Tecoloto/09 Dave and the Customs-Ali Baba/10 Jim Head and his Del-rays-Harem Bells/11 The Fugitives-The Fugitive/12 The Tourquays-The Other Side/13 BAJA CALIFORNIA RADIO ID/14 the Turks-Baja/15 St. John and the Cardinals-The Rise/16 Five More-Avalanche/17 The Mosriters-On the Run/18 Elite UFO-Tarantula/19 The Buddies-Pulsebeat/20 The Vasqueros-Desert Wind/21 The Dantes-Desert Walk/22 The Decades-Strange Worlds/23 The House on Haunted Hill Movie Trailer/24 Kenny and the Fiends-House on Haunted Hill/25 Marlow Stewart and the Illusions-Earthquake!/26 The Toads-Morpheus/27 The Vistas-No Return/28 (Untitled)