Friday, June 11, 2010


Here's a collection of '60s surf rock by black artists, more recent reggae songs about surfing, a tongue-in-cheek '80 New Wave song (the Bus Boys) and some mashups pitting black singers against surf instrumentals. And one rap song.

The Black Surfing Association has only a handful of members now - during the '60s surf music craze, there were no doubt even fewer black surfers, especially in the days of segregated beaches. So why would black musicians make surf music? For money of course. As with the "Surfin With Bo Diddley" album I posted a few days ago, record companies were looking to jump on any profitable trend. The reggae songs, tho, might be more of a sincere nod to their large surfer fan base. Ernest Ranglin's song "Reminiscing" is indeed reminiscent of the '60s classic "Theme From Endless Summer" by the Sandals.

All these tunes are high-energy summer fun, but some work better then others. The Isley Brothers' "Surf and Shout" and Chubby Checker's "Let's Surf Again" merely re-write old hits. And Diana Ross and The Supremes' "Surfer Boy" is really unbelievable - can you imagine Miss Thing on a dirty beach in those gowns? With that hair? Surfer, please!

Soul Surfin'

- Let's Go to the Beach 2:06 Sanford and the Sandies
- Surf Party 2:26 Chubby Checker
- Surf and shout 2:28 Isley Brothers
- Summertime Is Surfin Time 2:09 Surf Bunnies
- What'd The Bulldog Say 3:10 Zoom (Ray Charles vs The Ventures)
- Surfer Boy 2:26 The Supremes
- Soul Surfing 3:34 The Bus Boys
- Surfbusters 2:58 G3RSt (Ray Parker Jr vs The Tornadoes)
- Wipeout Taffy 3:29 Party Ben (The Surfaris vs D4L)
- (We're Gone) Surfin' 2:05 Chubby Checker
- I Like Nitro 2:39 JetSetAlex (Reel2Reel vs Dick Dale)
- Surfin' 4:57 Israel Vibration
- Mama Nature 4:30 Pato Baton
- California Girls (Crenshaw Blvd. Mix - Extended Remix) 6:11 The Cally Boys
- Surf Trick 2:10 RIAA (Kelis vs The Phantom Surfers)
- Dizz And The Boyz Getz To The Beach 2:42 MadMixMustang (Dizzy Gillespie vs Beach Boys)
- Reminiscing 4:38 Ernest Ranglin
- Let's Surf Again 2:08 Chubby Checker

There actually have been a couple hip-hop/surf cross-over hits (not included here cuz you can get 'em anywhere). The Black Eyed Peas "Pump It" takes a page from the MC Hammer hack songcraft playbook: 1) take the most obvious cliche song (Dick Dale's "Miserlou" in this case) 2) don't sample it so much as take pretty much the whole song 3) put a beat over it 4) shout a catch phrase over the music. Witless, but hey, it
is "Miserlou," hard to ruin that one, so if I have to listen to Top 40, I'll take it. And in the '80s the Fat Boy's remade "Wipeout." The lovable lard-asses hooked up with the unloveable Mike Love's pseudo-Beach Boys to produce not only a jaw-droppingly kitschy video but a Top 40 hit.


forked tongue said...

Great compilation! Thanks.

Bo Jangles said...

Do you have any Boxcar Willie or Red Sovine?

Mr Fab said...

Boxcar Willie or Red Sovine? No, sorry. But, hey, I have ROCK-ACID versions of Hank Williams:

Brian said...

great blog, man. i look at it every week.