Domenic Priore – Surf Bands do Exotica (with Soul)


This is a special Exotica-Surf radio show for, culled mostly from original, mono 45s by teenage Surf instrumental combos trying to capture the Exotica feel of early Martin Denny (Liberty Records) and Arthur Lyman (Hi Fi Records), both of whom recorded their deepest Tiki-toned cuts during the late ’50s and very early ’60s. A bit of bongo-beatnik influence pops up on this beach, plus a few vintage Surf LP tracks are thrown in for good measure, some of which are pulled from incredibly rare, locally pressed compilation albums done in L.A. during 1963 when Surf music was at its peak. “Beach Party” on G.S.P. Records, Inc. was put out by a producer named Gary Paxton, most well known for Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash” and The Hollywood Argyles’ “Alley Oop”… from this, we get the raw stompers “Let’s Go To The Beach” by Sanford & the Sandies, “Summertime is Surfin’ Time” by The Surf Bunnies as well as The Charades’ track. “Surf War” on Shepherd Records features thee most pure, gutsy type of Surf instrumentals by The Centurians, Dave Myers & the Surf-Tones, Bob Vaught & the Renegades and The Impacts (fortunately, a re-issue exists). “Surf’s Up! at Banzai Pipeline” on Northridge Records featured artists never heard elsewhere, such as Doug Hume, The Biscaynes, Bob Hafner and Neal Nissenson… the album was re-issued quickly in 1963 with expanded material by expanded material by *The Original Surfaris, cutting some of those unknowns; the Reprise version “Surf’s Up!” has been put out again in more recent years. The Sentinels (from San Luis Obispo) get a few tracks in from their Del-Fi LPs, as they always featured a soulful sound. They, and the more well-known groups from those rare compilations all had something to do with the infamous “Surf Battle” at Deauville Castle Club in Santa Monica on the weekend of March 22, 23 and 24, 1963. This was probably the greatest Surf music concert of all time… the labels releasing those compilation LPs were simply trying to cash in on the popularity of that specific event. The radio special kicks off with several very-rare Surf tunes by R&B artists, including a couple from L.A. (The Charades, The Golden Nuggets) who also played at the “Surf Battle” that weekend. Both sides of The Beach Boys’ debut 45 on Candix Records (“Surfin’” b/w “Luau”) are heard, albeit in cover versions by The Orlons (of “Wah Watusi” fame) and Dave Myers & the Surf-Tones (who tripped the song out in ’63, calling it “Laguna Limbo Luau”). It’s a set for the early summer, so you won’t forget to make your way out to the coastline, or the water in general, and soak in some of the warmth, splash and splendor of summer.

Domenic Priore, author of Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles’ Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier (2014 with Christopher Merritt, Process Media) and Riot on Sunset Strip: Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood (2015 Jawbone Press)

*depicted as “The Surfairis” on the poster above; they were from Santa Ana, not the Glendora Surfaris of “Wipe Out” fame…



Chubby Checker – Surf Party – Beach Party – Parkway

The Orlons – Surfin’ – Everybody’s Goin’ Surfin’- Parkway

The Charades – Surf n’ Stomp – Beach Party – G.S.P. Records Inc.

The Golden Nuggets – Surf Everybody – Hawk Records

Les Cooper and the Soul Rockers – Wiggle Wobble – Everlast

Diaboliques – Birdland – Merri Records

The Sentinals – Ooh Poh Pa Doo – Surfer Girl – Del-Fi

Sandford & the Sandies – Let’s Go to the Beach – Beach Party – G.S.P. Records Inc.

The Impacts – Summer – Anderson Records

The Buddies – The Surf is In – The West Coast Action Sound…Go Go with the Buddies – Mercury Wing

— break —

Dave and the Customs – Ali Baba – DAC Records

The Renegades – Istanbul – Citation

The Mysterions – Jerico Rock – BRS Records

The Illusions – Jezabel – Round Records

Dick Dale and his Del-Tones – The Wedge – Checkered Flag – Capitol

— break —

Eddie and the Showmen – Border Town – Liberty

The Matadors – La Corrida – Colpix Records

The Pharos – Pintor – Del-Fi

The Fireballs – Torquay – Top Rank

The Frogmen – Tioga – Scott

The Sentinals – Tor-Chula – Big Surf – Del-Fi

— break —

The Sentinals – Big Surf – Big Surf – Del-Fi

Dave Meyers and the Surftones – Laguna Limbo Luau – Surfs Up! at Banzai-Pipeline – Northridge Records

The Surfaris – Mystic Island Drums – Hit City 64 – Decca Records

The New Dimensions – Bongo Surf – Surfin’ Bongos: The Great Surfing Rhythms of the New Dimensions – Sutton

Preston Epps – Bongo Party – Surfin’ Bongos – Original Sound Record Co.

The Dragons – Troll – Capitol Records

The Pagents – Enchanted Surf – I.K.E. Records

The King Pins – 94 Second Surf – Larse Records

Frogmen – Sea Hunt – Tee Jay Records

The Irridescents – Bali Ha’i – Hawk

Dick Dale and his Del-Tones – Jungle Fever – Deltone Records

The Enchanters – Tum-Tiki – Tom-Tom Records

The Impacts – Kon-Tiki – Surf War – Shepherd Records

Eden Ahbez – The Old Boat – Del-Fi

Ernie Freeman – Hawaiian Eye – Imperial

The Ventures – Hawaii Five-O – Liberty

The Vibrents – The Breeze and I – Bay Towne

— break —

Jan and Dean – California Lullaby – Magic Lamp Records

The Rendezvous – Those Memories of You – Surfin’ Roots – Festival

Unknown Artist – Pacific Ocean Park Ad

Duane Eddy – Theme for a Summer Place – Twangin’ the Golden Hits – RCA Victor

— break —

The New Dimensions – Vesuvius – Surfin’ Bongos: The Great Surfing Rhythms of the New Dimensions – Sutton

The Sunrays – I Live for the Sun – Tower

Jill Gibson – It’s As Easy As 1, 2, 3 – Imperial

The Kan Dells – Cloudburst – Boss

Surf Bunnies – Summertime is Surfin’ Time – Beach Party – G.S.P. Records Inc.

The Centaurians – The Wedge – Surf War – Shepherd

Johnny Barakat and the Vestells – Long Ride – Dell Star Record Co.

Domenic Priore


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