Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Freddy King - Freddy King Goes Surfin'dotdotdot
artworkThis 1963 album is a reissue of King LP-773 with overdubbed crowd noise. The songs are superb, but the crowd noise gets in the way. The original 1961 release Let's Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King (Strictly Instrumental) is much better. Freddy King's subtle string bending and lovely phrasing make even the simplest, most jammy song seem like magic.
Picks: Hide Away, Butterscotch, Sen-Sa-Shun, Side Tracked, The Stumble, Wash Out, San-Ho-Zay, Just Pickin', Heads Up, Out Front, Swooshy

Track by Track Review

Hide Away dotdotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

This track has been covered by many a surf band, and for obvious reasons. The blues roots of surf, particularly the South Bay scene, leant itself to this sort of tune. The melody is strong, and the funky groove nature of the track gives an air of soul to the set. Boogie based, and infectious.

Butterscotch dotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

This is a very smooth, slowish blues with a very nice melody and basic backtrack. "Butterscotch" has Freddy King written all over it. His knack for making noodling sound artistic is very present here.

Sen-Sa-Shun dotdotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Based on "Got My Mojo Working," this is a playful instrumental, with flair and optimism. This song has often been covered, and it displays fine guitar work from the master. While it's pretty jammy, it still engages and holds your attention, especially the superb break.

Side Tracked dotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Riding atop a slow, classic bumping rhythm track, "Side Tracked" has some fine guitar rambling from Freddy King. It's not his best work, but it's well within the cool camp. It's a little like Jimmy Reed with edge.

The Stumble dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Not included in surf sets, but frequently used by British Blues bands later on, this is playful and rhythmic track, with a definite appeal. Simple and tasteful.

Wash Out dotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Slow and basic, "Wash Out" moves along with fine, subtle string bending. Backed with a classic Jimmy Reed Chicago blues rhythm, the song's jamminess and noodling seem just fine. How does he do that? Cool piano plinking in the background.

San-Ho-Zay dotdotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Another track that has found it's way into many surf sets, this is a splendidly surfable track. It's bluesy nature and melodic sense are infectious and demand attention. Likable from the get-go, this is just plain good music.

Just Pickin' dotdotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

The break riffs are ultra classic Freddy King! "Just Pickin'" is really hard not to like, and the liquid guitar work is superb. Catchy and groovy!

Heads Up dotdotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

The Lively Ones covered this, and it's easy to see why listening to the original. The blues roots are there, but it has a coastal imagery that slithers atop the fine guitar work. Simply cool!

In The Open dotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Mighty fun picking, bluesy style and infectious rhythms, and definitely the blues, not surf at all. Warm and friendly.

Out Front dotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

It's not hard to see the journey from the blues to surf while listening to "Out Front." It's not reverby or particularly coastal, but songs like this were right next to The Ventures and others when surf was just beginning to coalesce.

Swooshy dotdotdot
Pre-Surf Blues (Instrumental)

"Swooshy" is kinda swooshy, with the backtrack way in the back, and the guitar more riffing than melodic, yet it has charm and engages.