Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA The New Arrivals - Let's Get With It, Baby!
|From San Jose back in the days when there was actually a San Jose scene, the Preps a.k.a. the New Arrivals were contemporaries to the Syndicate of Sound, the Rocky Jenkins Echo Four, the Count V, the Chocolate Watchband, the Other Side, the Van Slyke, and so many more. Members of the New Arrivals included Bill Smith - guitar, Dick Robitaille - marimba and percussion, Tom Muller - keys, Larry Syres - bass, and Andre Meschi - drums, and on some sessions Rod Bibino - guitar. The Preps also included Victor Malatesta, Rich Correll, Mike Mezaros, Jim Harville and Kevin Henker at different times. |
The Preps and the New Arrivals issued a handful of singles under both names before disbanding at the hands of the newly unleashed psych sounds. They recorded with the legendary Leo de Gar Kulka at Golden State Recorders and Coast Recorders, where a number of instros were captured.
One of San Jose's best surf instros is here, the amazingly cool "Moon Racers."
Five stars for the Preps' "Moon Racers" alone, and add to that there fine pop single "Take Me For What I Am" and the moody "Night Theme," and it's a win-win. Some tracks date from the seventies and eighties, but for me it's vintage stuff that really matters.
Picks: Night Theme, Moon Racers
Track by Track Review
"Night Theme" is a moody number with chamber reverbed drums and haunted organ in the lead. It's a pretty simple song, but it sure does stand up well over time. The Chantays covered this on their first album. This was a successful track for the Preps, issued on Dot nationally. Sly Stone is the bassist on this track. Originally cut by the Mark II.
"Moon Racers" is a stunningly cool surf instro, and as the band says in the liners, it reflects their roots in instros and surf. The soaring whammy chords, the space surf feel, the dramatic production, and the well thought out mix all contribute to this fine instro. It's the kind of track raises the hair on the back of your neck. Rumor had it back then that a very large number of takes was required to get the sound and performance they wanted, and for my money it was very much worth the effort. This track alone is worth the price of admission.
Interestingly enough, it was written by Herb Alpert and Scott Turner!
I first came to it from KLIV's tendency to use it as a bumper in 1965, and later in that year while visiting friend and DJ-mentor Squeaky Martin during his overnight weekend shift there, I was fortunate enough to pull this lacquer disc they had discarded from their junk barrel, a source for many surf singles still in my collection, along with many great garage punk singles.