Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Bobby Fuller - Shakedown! The Texas Tapes Revisiteddotdotdotdot
artworkAfter a year of leaking word that this two CD set was coming, I had all but forgotten about it. Then, I get a call from collector/singer/author/surf fanatic Elliot Kendall at Del-Fi in Southern California. Hey, Phil, the Bobby Fuller box is out! Well, I'm stoked because Bobby did some stellar surfisms during his abridged stay on Earth, some of which was etched to tape prior to leaving Texas for LA and the big beat. On the other side of his set list were some pretty damn good vocal renderings too, like the legendary I Fought The Law. It comes in a snazzy quasi-Scotch Audio Tape box, transmuted into Del-Fi Magnetic Tape, a theme carried throughout the very nifty artwork. It's an actual box that opens up to reveal a nice thin 2-pack CD with more Scotch art, including hand written track data on the back from the box that contained Stringer. Dave Marsh, he of the incredible "Louie Louie" the book, wrote the liners for the 36 page book also found within, which is saturated with pictures and record labels and endless track data. This is the highest quality issue Del-Fi has made to date. A word of note: The small number of tracks picked is related to this being an instrumental surf music page, so all non-surf tracks are not picked. However, much of the vocal content is without doubt wonderful and historic and just plain vintage rock n roll. Muddy recordings or sound sometimes detract from the listening pleasure, but I a sucker for developmental work. Bobby was a budding genius about to come into full bloom when he died. That unfulfilled promise is part of the draw of this CD. It is high on my list of essential releases for the year. Because of the large number of tracks here, and the non-surf nature of most, I have only listed the instrumentals or surf related vocals.
Picks: Stringer, The Chase, Wolfman, Thunder Reef, Skag (Skeg), Unknown Instrumental, Unknown Whistling Instrumental

Track by Track Review

Stringer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Wow. This track begs the question, why is the production so much better on this track? Bobby liked the Chantays styled instrumentals, and this is the first one he wrote and recorded. Seventh single B side, originally issued on Todd 1090.

The Chase dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the lone stereo track on this 2 CD set. Very nice Bobby Fuller & the Fanatics / BF4 soft surf sound. The lead could have been more present, but this is a great track. The lead is Bobby's Southwest sound over heavily reverbed and damped rhythm guitar. Bobby is playing a nine string guitar!

Wolfman dotdotdotdot
Border Radio Surf (Instrumental)

This is very similar to The Lonely Dragster, with Bobby's Wolfman Jack imitation overdubbed, and wolf baying added. It's pretty surfy, chunky, and moderately paced. It's a cool track, dripping the early sixties border radio days when Wolfman Jack was on XERB beaming into California (and on XERF and others along the border as well). Saturday nights, car radios were tuned to XERB, KRLA, KFWB, KHJ, KAFY, KFXM, or KGFJ, from which oozed out the surf, the rock, and the R&B that drove a generation.

Thunder Reef dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thunder Reef is a riff-rockin' surf instro, with not much reverb, and little melody. The stompin' sensibilities are dominant, and the rhythm is infectious. A fairly tame track over all.

Skag (Skeg) dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Recorded in the summer of '63, and just discovered. A "Torquay" inspired song. Great.

Unknown Instrumental dotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

An R&B intro just discovered and unnamed. Sounds like rehearsal or demo.

Unknown Whistling Instrumental dotdotdot
Whistling Guitar (Instrumental)

Unlisted and untitled, out past the end of "The Chase" on track twenty five is a solo guitar and piece with Bobby whistling the melody. It's very pretty.