By 1958 Rock’n’Roll as a “genre” was still new enough that the record companies and Top 40 radio stations weren’t quite sure what “it” was exactly and whether it would sell and what people tuning in wanted to hear. So in between records like “Book of Love” and “Great Balls of Fire” and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” you got stuff like “Tea for Two Cha Cha” and “Topsy II” and “Chanson d’Amour.” And this one, Robin Luke’s all-the-way-from-Honolulu take on rockabilly, “Susie Darlin’.”
Archie Brownlee (lead vocal), Wilbur Broadnax, Lawrence Abrams, tenors; Lloyd Woodard, baritone; Jay T. Clinkscales, bass; with unknown organ, drums, piano, guitar. c. January 1959 Photo: from Vivre sa vie: film en douze tableaux by Jean-Luc Godard
It was inevitable that sooner or later our series would touch on the genre known to many as surfing music. What many may not know is that surfing music was originally known as an amalgam of many different kinds of popular music, from “top of the pops”-type tunes to the rural blues of Jimmy Reed. This progression of jazz instrospection was first introduced to audiences on the West Coast by Big Jay McNeely and other artists of that ilk such as Joe Houston and Django Reinhardt as exemplefied by the Modern Jazz Quartet’s 1955 album of the same name.
We have decided to wade deeply into this genre, or musical form, and present you, the listener, with the feeling of catching a wave and turning on to its fullest extent.
With that in mind here are another even dozen tracks of only the best in surfing music, programmed for your musical and beachgoing entertainment and starting with the album cut of Ray Charles’ undeniably great hit of “What’d I Say” from his LP of the same name. Also on board are the great Minnesota surfing group The Trashmen performing two of their greatest hits live near the Isabelle River in western Wisconsin. We also have some jazz and easy listening classics such as “Yellow Bird” and “Manuel’s Mambo” by the great Cal Tjader, all great surfers as well as great jazz musicians.
We hope you enjoy listening to this, before, during, and after your next beachcombing adventure. —Irving Snurd, editor, Hi Fi in Hi Fi
Ray Charles, vocals/electric piano; Marcus Belgrave, John Hunt, trumpets; David Newman, alto sax/tenor sax; Hank Crawford, baritone sax; Edgar Willis, bass; Milt Turner, drums; The Raeletts, vocal group. New York City, 18 February 1959
Coming your way starting tomorrow, more number one jukebox hits from The Five Blind Boys! Albert & Charles! Beausoleil! Robin Luke! The Henrys! Peggy Lee! Billy Lee Riley! El Trio Alegre! and Chet Atkins!