Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ground Swell

Dick Dale

Surfer's Choice


"Surf music is a definite style of heavy staccato picking with the flowing sound of a reverb unit to take away the flat tones on the guitar and make the notes seem endless. Very heavy guitar strings are used to elongate the sound from the vibration of the strings, not the feedback qualities of an amplifier. It becomes a very in-depth combination of things that, when put together, spells out true surf music." -- Dick Dale

by Cub Koda
Very few early rock & roll albums were true groundbreakers, but this is one: not only did it single-handedly establish the surf music genre (and Dick Dale's hegemony over it), but also sold the entire concept to mass America, where surfing in landlocked regions was only a state of mind. Largely recorded at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa Beach — Dale's ruling home turf, where one can clearly hear the kids screaming in anticipation at the start of "Surf Beat" — this lays out the vocal highlights from Dick's set list ("Peppermint Man," "Lovey Dovey," "Night Owl," "Fanny Mae," and "Sloop John B.," sounding very odd here with overdubbed strings) up against the instrumentals that truly forged the style. "Miserlou Twist" — a different version than the original Del-Tone single — and the original, pre-reverb single version of "Let's Go Trippin'" appear to be the only studio tracks aboard. But the live takes on "Surfing Drums" (later retitled "Tribal Thunder" on one of Dale's comeback albums), "Take It Off," "Shake 'n' Stomp," and the lowdown stomp of "Death of a Gremmie" just as clearly delineate the wild, reverbed excitement of the new style in its native habitat. Without a doubt, surf guitar's finest hour, the genre's equivalent to Charlie Parker's Dial recordings.


Alex said...

Thanks again for this awesome Dick Dale album! You wouldn't happen to have his album "Spacial Disorientation" would you?
I tried buying it on ebay but can't find it anywhere now?

Thanks again!

Trustar said...

Hey alex

No don't have that one.....yet! I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Thanks for your comments and for checking in.