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Various - Chairman Of The Board - Surf Soundtracks '64-'74

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 22 / 6 / 2007

Various - Chairman Of The Board - Surf Soundtracks '64-'74
Label: Harmless
Format: CD


Fantastic collection of soundtracks taken from forgotten and often obscure surf films, which will appeal not only to surfing fans but to anyone with an interest in the music of the 60's.

Growing up in leafy Surrey the few surfing films I ever saw held a certain fascination for me. They came not only from a different country but from an entirely different world. Somehow Littlehampton wasn’t the same; it lacked the tan, fit bodies and surfboards for one thing but the one part of the surf culture I could appreciate was the music that accompanied these films and which made it onto national radio. Of course my introduction to surf music was the same for many, the Beach Boys' early work. But what was even more fascinating was the guitar-driven tracks that came from the likes of Dick Dale and the Surfaris. That guitar sound that identified the surf genre was far removed from the harmony-drenched Beach Boys songs I heard on the radio. But as fascinating as that sound was I did wonder if a whole CD made up of, to be honest, obscure surfing soundtracks would hold up without the visuals. It does hold up and not only that it washes over most of the current crop of compilations of forgotten 60's ‘classics’ (in other words songs that were not released at the time because, well, they simply were not good enough). I couldn’t name one single surfing film I’ve seen to be honest which says a lot about how memorable they were but some of these songs seem very familiar and there isn’t a Beach Boys or Dick Dale song to be found in this collection of 18 songs. The Sandals' ‘Theme From The Endless Summer’ is a typical surf instrumental with that surf guitar sound well to the fore and one does wonder how much Hank Marvin of the Shadows did to shape this sound or was it vice versa? Some indication of when these songs were recorded would have been welcome. This collection goes from the straightforward surf sounds to the weird and unexpected, the ‘speech and tune’ by Music Convention from the film ‘Children Of The Sun’ is an all too short snatch of psychedelia and elements of The Band no less can be heard in ‘Hollywood’ one of a handful of tracks by one G Wayne Thomas taken from the soundtrack of ‘Crystal Voyager’. The Farm are represented by three songs from ‘Innermost Limits Of Pure Fun’ and with organ fleshing out the familiar guitar sounds on ‘Ground Shuffle’ they add a harder edge to the usual surf sound. The band’s ‘Coming Of Dawn’ is 13 minutes of pure wigged-out psychedelia that instead of being tucked away on a surf music compilation should be taking pride of place on a number of 60's collections. The Music Convention also touch on psychedelia on the sitar drenched (obviously) all too short ‘Sitar Track’ and the following ‘Evolution’ by Tamam Shud from the film of the same name also veers into that genre with some inspired guitar playing. In fact, if it wasn’t for those tracks which feature the accepted guitar sound of surf music this collection could just have easily been released as a CD of long-forgotten 60's and 70's classics. With so many other compilations being released each month that don’t deliver the promised goods this is one collection that, for once, deserves all the praise lavished on it. With surprisingly good sound throughout, this comes highly recommended not only to surfing freaks but to anyone with a passing interest in the sounds of the 60's.

Track Listing:-
1 Farm - San Ho Zay
2 G. Wayne Thomas- Junkyard
3 The Music Convention- Big Green
4 G. Wayne Thomas- Hollywood
5 Ticket- Dream Chant
6 Farm- Ground Shuffle
7 Farm- Innerspace
8 Music, Convention, The- Sitar Track
9 Tamam Shud- Evolution
10 Smoghorn- Transparent Dream
11 Farm- Coming of Dawn
12 G. Wayne Thomas- Change
13 Tamam Shud- Sea the Swell
14 The Protein Brothers- Drainpipe
15 The Music Convention- Bellyboard Beat
16 Smoghorn- Animal Kingdom
17 Farm- Crumple Car
18 G. Wayne Thomas- Gypsy Shoes

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