Friday, January 14, 2011

Michael Fremer Album Review

Singles Collection '61-65

Dick Dale and His Del-Tones

Deltone/Capitol/Sundazed LP 5248 2 180g mono LPs
Produced by: Dick Dale, Gary Usher, Voyle Gilmore, Jim Monsour, Jim Economides
Engineered by: Various engineers
Mixed by: Various mixers
Mastered by: Bob Irwin (LP cut by "Geo" at Nashville Record Productions)



Dick Dale's Surfing Singles Assembled on Two Slabs of 180g Vinyl!
by Michael Fremer
December 01, 2010

Dick Dale is widely acknowledged as the inventor of “surf music.” Most observers consider his first single “Let’s Go Trippin’” recorded July 21st 1961to be the first surf record. Certainly those of us old enough to remember hearing it on the radio back then had never heard anything like it before, though that could be said about virtually everything that showed up on pop music radio back then.

Up North we heard Ernie K. Doe, Huey Piano Smith and Frankie Ford and we also heard something we’d never before heard, nor did we know it was from New Orleans, nor did we care. We just liked it.

But surf music was identified as such from the beginning when the sing hit around the same time as Life Magazine profiled the Southern California surfing craze. We saw the pictures in Life and heard the soundtrack on AM radio.

More singles followed including the incredible “Miserlou” cover that Quentin Tarantino used in “Pulp Fiction” that resurrected interest in surf music and Dick Dale, but surf music went “wide” when the Beach Boys hit.

Richard Anthony Monsour was born in Boston in 1937, the son of a Lebanese father and a Polish mother. The Monsour house was filled with music and Richard learned to play a variety of instruments. The family moved to Southern California in 1954 and look what happened to Mansour seven years later! Southern California can do that.

Dick Dale learned how to play guitar left handed on a right handed guitar that he played “upside down.” When he got a left handed guitar he strung it “backwards” with the bass “E” string on bottom and the high “E” string on top and that’s how he’s played it ever since!

Dale’s surf music had a rougher edge than the more commercial “warm California sun” version The Beach Boys popularized. Dale’s was more like Eddie Cochran than the Four Preps! That’s what makes this set so much hard rockin’ fun!

There’s a mix of genres adapted to surf, particularly on the later material, when Dale was kind of running out of news of doing surf music. There’s a gospel surf tune “Glory Wave” that could have been covered by Elvis, and “Grudge Run,” which could have been covered by The Coasters. Of course there are ethnic covers too, like “Hava Nagila” and “Never on Sunday,” that are less than stellar but even those are fun because Dale’s guitar work always shined.

The detailed credits give you all of the players on each session. So you’ll see Leon Russell, Hal Blaine, Glen Campbell, James Burton, the great sax player Steve Douglas, and even Lincoln Mayorga!

The excellent annotation points out that Dick Dale singles were the best way to hear these tunes as the album versions, particularly of the later stuff, were mixed differently.

This double LP set gives you the early Deltone material as well as the later Capitol recordings that got kind of lame towards the end. Still, it’s great to have all of these singled collected on double vinyl sounding as good as they’re going to sound, which isn’t always great, but never awful.

This isn’t for everyone but those for whom it is meant know who they are! Quentin’s buying I’m sure.

Thanks to Michael over at  for the exclusive rights to reprint this material. Stop by for more reviews and features.

Copyright © 2008 & Michael Fremer - All rights reserved Reprinted by Permission

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