Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA The Astronauts - Surf Party
|RCA issued this budget collection of the Astronauts' material in the early nineties. It's now out of print, but if you see a used copy, get it. It's a good cross-section of their material, including some non-LP sides.|
Picks: Baja, Movin', Surf Party, Banzai Pipeline, Let's Go Trippin', Razzamatazz, El Aguila (The Eagle), Hot Doggin', Main Title Theme From Ride The Wild Surf
Track by Track Review
"Baja" displays power of their trademark three guitar line up, and shows what a few weeks at RCA Hollywood could do. Actually, having said that, I'd really like to remix this. The lead guitar is too loud in the mix. Anyway, if there's a list of the ten most significant surf singles, this must be on it. Hazelwood had a knack for melody, and the Astronauts had a knack for the sound, and together, look out!
A Lee Hazelwood composition. This track was also covered by the Surfaris and Eddie and the Showmen. It's a great track for the Astronauts' three guitar line up. This version is better than any of the others from the vintage days of surf. It's melodic, energetic, and very cool.
This is the title track from the movie Surf Party, and it appeared on the soundtrack and a as a single, but never on an Astronauts album. A great example of what a college band from Boulder Colorado can do with Al Schmitt at the controls at RCA Hollywood. Remarkable.
Beat Generation Surf (Instrumental)
When Henry Mancini named this, he undoubtedly was capitalizing on the surf trend du jour, but he gave it none of the hallmark characteristics of a surf instro, not the beat, the melody, or anything. When he recorded it, he gave it the big band sound he was famous for, and given it's Beat Generation structure, that was a perfect match. Undaunted, Boulder, Colorado's Astronauts used the classic surf instrumentation to recreate it into a surf classic, if only because of it's reputation as the first crossing into the MOR-Lounge venue for surf material. It's quirky, completely uncharacteristic of surf, but curiously endearing and catchy. A fun track, for sure.
None of the immediacy of Dick Dale and the Del-tones. It's a good track, just not remarkable.
British Invasion Blues (Instrumental)
This is a basic British Invasion styled blues instro, harmonica lead, and unremarkable. It's a lot like a backtrack to "Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day."
Similar to "The Hearse," this great track is infectious and wonderful to drive down 101 to.
This was the Astronauts' non-album single follow-up to "Baja." It's very hot, feisty, almost assaultive in its delivery. Melody and power merge for an infectious effect.
Main Title Theme From Ride The Wild Surf
From the soundtrack to the movie Ride The Wild Surf, this is the alternate to Jan and Dean's vocal. Horns and surf guitar. It was also a single.