Archive for the ‘Bobby Fuller Four’ Category

Bobby Fuller Four

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

BobbyFullerLetHerDance, Bobby Fuller Four, Mustang, Liberty

Listen: Let Her Dance / Bobby Fuller Four

Released during the summer of ’65, ‘Let Her Dance’ somehow made merely a dent (# 133) on BILLBOARD’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100, sadly getting airplay only in Southern California.

Amazingly, the single didn’t spread like wildfire. It’s not like Los Angeles airplay couldn’t break a record. I still can’t believe it wasn’t a hit.

Apparently, more than those at the original label, Mustang thought so too. They proceeded to license it to Liberty Records, clearly expecting to take the song national as Mustang did later in the year with ‘I Fought The Law’. Why it wasn’t re-released as the followup to ‘I Fought The Law’ remains a mystery, given a few trade mentions in March ’66 that indeed it was scheduled. I suppose Liberty insisted if re-released, despite passing on ‘I Fought The Law’ later that year, it be via them or some such wrangle.

To be honest, Little Steven turned me on to this about five years ago. He plays it regularly on his Sirius radio channel. Sounds fantastic on the air as it must have that summer while driving along the Pacific Palisades, surf boards popping out the back of pink or aqua woodies. Foolishly, I hadn’t paid much attention prior.

Missing this when originally issued is indeed an embarrassing admission, but one that makes for endless records to discover as life moves on.

‘Let Her Dance’ remains a haunting record with a suspicious streak, one that blossomed in an unfortunate way. I was never sure why the single appeared on both the Mustang and Liberty labels, so decided to do some research, stumbling on Aaron Poehler’s ‘The Strange Case Of Bobby Fuller’. It’s a must-read.

Jack Nitzsche

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Listen: The Lonely Surfer / Jack Nitzsche
The Lonely Surfer / Jack Nitzsche

Somewhere in this collection a US copy of ‘The Lonely Surfer’ lurks. Must have taken it out to dj with, because my recollection of it sounding huge and rather scary through the sound system at Brooklyn Bowl is quite vivid.

The sport of surfing was not big in the UK, nor was the musical genre, unsurprisingly. Given that UK pressings of surf singles are thin on the ground, finding this Jack Nitzsche 7″ in a tattered box of 45′s on a freezing October morning along the Portobello Road market indeed felt quite the anomaly.

Jack himself, well he was so entrenched in LA’s recording scene during the early 60′s that coining the ultimate surf anthem isn’t really a shocker. His many credits often included arrangements, something no one really does these days, not exclusively and certainly not for money. The guy kept a lot of plates in the air, working with Phil Spector at Philles, organizing THE TAMI SHOW, taking Doris Day to #1 in the pop charts, arranging for The Rolling Stones when they were at the RCA studios and managing to keep up a solo career on Reprise. There alone his array of releases included Chopin style renditions of then current pop hits to, well, surf anthems like ‘The Lonely Surfer’.

Having arranged and orchestrated Ike & Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ would be a pretty daunting accomplishment for anyone to top, but in many ways that’s exactly what he does on ‘The Lonely Surfer’. From the title to the eerie horns, he’s captured a dark and alarming side of the supposedly sunshine and fun theme. Sorry but this record has always reminded me of seedy old Hollywood, the unsolved Bobby Fuller murder and Sal Mineo’s as well.

By the way, ever noticed that some of the best surf records have the most unhappy horn bits on them.