The Rotations The Cruncher b/w Heavies 45 (Original Sound, 1964)
There are very few prejudices that I have when it comes to music. I got over the knee jerk reaction to Christian music when I first discovered Black Gospel and, later, freaky records like the Stoned Age or Fireblood Angel Band. I never bought into the whole Hate Accordians fade and like some polka music a lot. I have a small collection of pipe organ records. There are very few records, aside from the obvious Top 40 nonsense, that I won't listen to at least once. However, I have always loathed Frank Zappa.
Before I go on let me cop to a few things: First, I have a copy of Weasels Rip My Flesh. I bought it because it was cheap and it has one of the top ten record covers of all time. I also listened to it and enjoyed it. Second, I like a lot of the records that Zappa produced and put out - Captain Beefheart, Alice Cooper, John Trubee. Hell, I even like a few GTOs songs. Third, I haven't listened to everything. I have heard Apostrophe (and didn't like it even as a very stone 14 year old), Over-Nite Sensation, Freak Out!, and parts of Hot Rats, We're Only in It For the Money, Joe's Garage, and Absolutely Free. And I saw 200 Motels, but I was 13 and it was a midnight movie and I was stoned out of my mind. Fourth, much of my reaction is due to Zappa Fan and the elitist/evangelical way they come off. My teenage years were littered with a few neighborhood Zappa heads who constantly lectured me on how great and smart Zappa was and how stupid I was for liking Black Sabbath and then punk rock. Fine let them have their club. Over the years, though, while I haven't warmed to Zappa, I do appreciate the idea of Frank Zappa and some of his work.
When I picked up this Rotations 45 little did I know that it is one of Zappa's earliest works. Record in 1962, when he was a youngster in Cucamonga, California, these two Rotations songs are among the greatest surf tunes ever made. The Cruncher is exactly that: A slow groove based on the Peter Gunn riff, it has a killer sax solo atop a great raw sound. Extra percussion and the always popular surf sound effects give it that little bit more that makes it stand out. Heavies starts with surf crashing into the shore (and continues throughout) and vamps some tasty twang. That the waves almost overwhelm the music is no big thing, and actually aids the song.
Thinking about it, I shouldn't be shocked that Zappa could make a record this great. The guy did know music and he was without a doubt a great musician. Still, I am surprised, and, yes, even pleasantly so.
anyway, he aint so bad and he aint so great, but that is one great surf single.
I thought it was impossible to dislike Zappa any more than I already did, but recently reading a long interview with him did the trick. Overly-clever weird-rock for people who don't do drugs.
His Early Mothers and pre-Mothers shit has all kindsa high points, but the *killer* is a fairly recently released LP of the 1965 pre-Freak Out demos called "Joe's Corsage". I think his son OK'd the release of this. Has some of the cuts from Freak Out. The doo wop parodys from Freak are NOT parodys at this point! Has the amazing 60s Louie Louie punker version of Plastic People that used to only be available on muddyboots! You needa hear this....
Other crazy things to look for: bootleg called The Boy Wonder Sesssions which has the Burt Ward 45 (really is Zappa backin Burt Ward) plus 4 more BW cuts or so, and the boot of the acetate version of We're Only In It For The Money, which was salvaged out of the studio trash can, which is not full length but contains very different version of tunes!
lookin' for the best ?
try Holiday on Saturn - by Del Kent
i think you forgot that surf and Instrumentals ARE 3 chord based rock'n'roll at 80% of the time (when it comes to late 50's pre surf it's 95% of the time) so telling me that you like your surf primitive with lot's of echo is like telling me that you like your punk fast. all i'm saying that your thoughs on that single are a bit overrated.
here some GOOD+CRUDE instros, master.
Rockatones - Shandia
Rondels - Satan's theme
Jan Davies - Sabre Dance
Citations - Moon Race
Gamblers - L.S.D 25
John Buck and his Blazers - forbidden city.
Okay, okay, reread my blog entry and "one of the greatest surf tunes ever" is a bit of an overstatement HOWEVER I am a sucker for songs with sound effects and surf sounds throughout a song is so stupid I cant pass it up. I mean even though Duane Eddy's Water Skiing album is a wretched piece of crap, I love it for all the water skiing sound effects. It is a miswiring in me head. Take out the waves and, sure The Rotations made a good record, maybe nothing more than that. Put the waves in and add to it that it comes, to me, from the most unlikely place, and it slots up a few notches. In this case context matters. Also the fact that I found it for a quarter.
As far as your recommendations, I've heard Satan's Theme, Sabre Dance (though I like Jan Davis's Funky Mud better), and Forbidden City. One of the greatest (that word again) is the Tiki Men's Cattle Prod, the only band from the 90s garage instro scene that really matters. I am not at home so I cant riffle though boxes and give you a list of other primitive faves, but I do invite you (or anyone else) to ramble off a few more. Instros arent a new thing for me; I've been buying them for ages. But I am not a student of the genre and there are so god damn many of them.
here's a list of stuff that like which i made for a stupid forum..
Surfmen - ghost hop (amazing horror instro)
-Del kent - holiday on saturn (frightnin' melodies on exotic rythem)
-Citations - moon race (low+high guitars KILLER)
-Johnny fortune - dragster (engine sounds + up-tempo bits)
-Frantics - werewolf (dot horror masterpiece)
-Go-Go's - chicken of the sea (this is THE most stupid vocal surf from 1964, a real anthem)
-Viscounts - harlem nocturne (ECHO)
-Omar Khorshid (from egypt, has one song with guitars that'll make dick dale go cry to his mom)
-Chevells - riptide (sad melodies, infectious bit)
-Fender iv - everybody up (well....)
-Hondells - little honda ("honda honda goes faster faster" right...)
-Aris San (israel, well it's greek music actually but you may refer to some of his tunes as "greak surf vocals" anyhow it's unbeatable)
-Trademarks - baha ree ba (up tempo with an eastern touch)
+ arabic flavor instrumentals:
sandy nelson - casbah
dave and the customs - ali baba
gladiators - istambul
the blazers - sounds of mecca
los relampagos - misirlou
trifonas - dam dam o pam (semi instro)
atlantics - bombora
johnny green combo - desert gold
eddie "the shiek" kochak - ya habibi.
one thing that we'll both agree on is the los kikes's c.d, if you'll ask me it's probably a top five for the last 20 years.
I cnat get with you on the Trashwomen. saw them several times and they were little more than a joke. Really, the Tiki Men are where it is at. I cant think of anything that tops their Sneak a Drink 7" and the Cattle Prod 45.
Arabic scales are always a plus. ALWAYS.
And I am with Jared, Have Twangy Guitar is a great great record. And it was the first rock & roll album I ever owned so it has a special place for me.
Viva Los Kikes!