Records that include whooping and hollering are just that little bit more exciting that ones that don’t. Get It by the Silvertones is a prime example. The song writing credit goes to Tom Dimuzlo, but there’s very little I can tell you about the Silvertones. Get It was released in 1963 on Goliath Records, which was a Californian label started by Tony Butala and Bob Todd. It was also released on Valiant Records the following year, probably to achieve greater distribution. Like a lot of records that came out of California in 1963, there’s a definite surfy feel to Get It, which is even more evident on the calmer flip, Bathsheba.
Guitarist Jan Davis was born John Bird in Hollywood, California. As well as releasing his own surf guitar hot-rod records, including Fugitive, Boss Machine (two sides I blogged about some time ago during a very short lived phase of not adding any words to the post), Watusi Zombie and more, he also was involved with B. Bumble and the Stingers and went on to carve out a career as a classical guitarist. Plus, it’s Davis’s voice you hear yelling near the start of Dick Dale’s Misirlou. I’m not sure what his connection to the Syrian capital was, but in 1961 Rendezvous released the exotic sounding surf instrumental Damascus by him and his band, The Ricco-Shays.
I post a lot of instrumental songs that have the surf guitar sound, but what we have here is the source of that sound. It doesn’t get any purer than Dick Dale and Night Rider is one of his most exciting tunes. Dick Dale records are about the loudest I’ve heard; energy bursts out of the speakers as the needle glides through the spinning groove. Released on Capitol in 1963, Night Rider was the flip of The Wedge, also a great surf classic, but Night Rider is just breathtaking. If you’re a fan of Misirlou, you need to hear this.
Israeli Twist is a neat studio-band take on the Hebrew folk song, Hava Nagila. It’s got that exotic surf sound which was popular in 1962 and is perennially popular in my DJ sets. This isn’t the first time I’ve posted a version of Hava Nagila and I’ve got a few more in my collection still. I can’t tell you much about The J-Walkers, except that they seem to be the creation of Jackie Walker, a singer in vocal group The Baysiders from California.
Here are two sax-driven dirty-sounding instrumentals from The Fifty Milers, a group I can’t find out anything about. Both sides were produced by Bobby Day, who wrote Little Bitty Pretty One; the writing credit is under his birth name, Robert Byrd. The Grunt was written by guitarist Adolph Jacobs, one time member of The Coasters. You possibly know it already from the salacious Las Vegas Grind compilation series. Like Day, Jacobs recorded for Class Records in the late 1950s. Today’s offering is Eva Records catalogue number 101, which is likely to have been the label’s first release. The only other Eva release I can find is 103, Dennis Weaver’s Chicken Mash. That one came out in 1963, so I guess The Grunt wouldn’t have been too far ahead of it.
Lucille, B.B. King’s guitar, sounds mighty fine on this take on the dance craze inspiring Hully Gully. It was 1962 when Hully Gully Twist was released and my guess is that the twist was just tacked onto the title in order to broaden the potential audience. I don’t think B.B. King’s version has any direct relation to the previously released Bill Doggett or Wayne Worley records of the same name. The songwriting credit goes to King along with Joe Josea. In fact, there was no such person. Josea was a pseudonym Joe Bihari used in order to receive half the publishing royalties. Joe was one of the Bihari brothers, a family of independent music industry pioneers who founded Modern Records and then Meteor, Flair, RPM, Kent and more.
Gabriel & The Angels released Hey, an exotic infused instrumental, in 1960. It’s a slightly strange tune for a vocal group from New Jersey to put out, but hats off to them. Written by their sax man, Rick Kellis, it was apparently recorded in one take. This is a styrene single which Amy Records printed their label directly onto. The printing hasn’t fared too well over the last 55 years, but the record still plays great and that’s what’s important to me. My Heavy Sugar buddy Fritz prefers the a-side, Chumba, but it’s Hey that does it for me. I included this on my Seesaw mix earlier in the year.
Whoever Bob Vaught & The Renegades were, they’ve managed to hide it from the internet pretty well. I can tell you that in 1963 they released a whole album of surf songs called Surf Crazy on the Californian GNP Crescendo label. Side one, track one is Exotic, which was also released as a single. Mine’s pictured above in its beautiful company sleeve. Two years ago I posted a different, more exotic version of Exotic, and discovered that it’s based on an old Spanish folk song called The Zorongo.
Ray Vernon was the pseudonym of Link Wray’s elder brother and bandmate Vernon Wray. Along with youngest brother Doug on drums, they played together on most of Link’s well known records. On Big City After Dark, Link Wray’s epic guitar takes the distorted badassery of Rumble to a whole nother level. Released on Mala in 1962, this is the sound of bliss.
And now for a recent acquisition I’m very pleased with, a pair of obscure instrumentals from The Nightmares, a group that I can’t find nada about. The Nightmare! is a cool spooky stroller, but Greyhound is the side I bought it for. Dually driven by a piano and guitar that are slightly out of tune, so it sounds like they’re competing against each other in a close race to the finish line. Released in 1960, it has the feel of a surf record, although it was just the early days of that movement. Fredlo was a recording studio as well as a record label, run by a married couple on the ground floor of their home. It started in Illinois, but was based in Davenport, Iowa (a long way from any surf beaches) when this recording was made.
An Aquarium Drunkard
Be Bop Wino
The B Side
Carlos Rene's Scene64
Derek's Daily 45
The Devil's Music
Flea Market Funk
Frankie Bundle's Mazzetta78
Home Of The Groove
Jester Wild Show
Kogar's Jungle Juice
La Dimension De Trastos
Liam Large's Rekkids
Mean Mojo Mathias
Night Beat Records
So Many Records, So Little Time
You Got Good Taste