Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA The Surfaris - Jack The Ripper b/w I'm A Hog For You
|These two sides are from the "lost" PAL sessions for DOT that didn't make it to the LP. |
Sundazed: "When the Surfaris' monumental "Wipe Out" blitzed the charts in the summer of '63, the L.A. combo was rushed back into the studio to cut a full album of foam-flecked classics. Inexplicably that LP was never released, but 40 years later, here are two previously unheard monsters from that Holy Grail of surf sessions: early workouts on "Jack The Ripper" and "I'm A Hog For You"--both undeniable evidence that great things are worth waiting for!"
Great historic recordings!
Picks: Jack The Ripper
Track by Track Review
A little background will help place this track. After "Surfer Joe" c/w "Wipe Out" began to get significant airplay, the Surfaris were approached by Richard Delvy, who wanted to distribute the record. Delvy had been an original member of the Belairs and founded the Challengers. The original DFS single was reissued on Delvy's Princess label. With more and more airplay, he was able to get a deal for the single with Dot, and that led to an opportunity to do an album.
So the story goes, Delvy gave the band a list of songs to record and scheduled studio time. The Surfaris went into Pal in early '63 and cut a dozen or so tracks with Paul Buff. When the album came out, the boys were more than a little ticked off. The songs were songs they cut, but it wasn't them, except for their two single sides. As it turned out, it was the Challengers, Delvy's band. It was not uncommon then and now for that matter) for labels to employ studio musicians to replace band members they didn't think were competent, or as a way to reduce their expenses. But this was really a blow. Legal wrangling and three successive changes to credits and artwork later, and the Surfaris got out of their contract and signed with Decca.
The disposition of the Surfaris' recordings from those sessions remained a mystery until now. For the shear historical value, this track and "Yep" are priceless finds. With that as a backdrop, here's what it sounds like:
The arrangement of "Jack The Ripper" is much like that on their first Decca album. There's plenty of genuine surf going on here. The performance is restrained, and it's easy to hear why it wasn't issued, yet it's so honest and real that its charm alone carries the day. The introduction is a silly Ron Wilson laugh and a scream, which were not adjacent on the original session tape, according to John Blair, so I'm guessing Sundazed placed them together as was the original intent.
More formative, but with all the essential elements. The presence of prominent Fender reverb the lead guitar places it after the first sessions. Their style here also is clearly the same as they used during most of their tenure with Decca. So, 5 stars for historical value, 3 for performance, and an average of 4 stars.