Good Days, Beautiful Waves

11 Mar

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACKSea For Yourself (Rural Records, 1972)

Dennis Dragon was thee name in surf soundtracks during the 60’s and 70’s. He first cut his teeth working with THE DRAGONS on Dale Davis’ Strictly Hot way back in 1964, then joined his brother to score a series of Grant Rohloff films including Wild Surf, and eventually teamed up with FARM to rock George Greenough’s Innermost Limits of Pure Fun in 1969. But with the 60’s behind him, Dennis was finally free to indulge a more painterly – in the rockin’, wildass sense of the term – approach to surf soundtracking. A whole bucket of sonic goo gets dumped in here: southern fried twang, hippy-dippy folk hokum, nasty GRAND FUNK-like grooves, keyboard driven prog, orchestral pops, and more. Yes occasionally things catch a near-porno soundtrack rail, but the weird thing is that this crazy quilt actually coheres when the waves start a-breaking.

Dennis’ busy, jazz-inflected drumming is the common denominator linking up alot of the music in the film, but other talents rear their heads too: a bunch of Westside fellas called THE BOZONE who give us a great downer psych spiral called “Stone Crazy“; the I-can’t-believe-this-isn’t-Jimi-Hendrix of VELVERT TURNER, whose track in the flick (“Hear My Train A-Comin'”) was inexplicably left off this LP release; and best of all, ex-SUNRAYS Richard Henn who wrote the beautiful “Rain Ride” and arranged the more orchestral/jazz pop moments included herein. Those quiet bits break up the hectic pace of this collection, helping to mark changing tides, rising suns, and apocalyptic sunsets with the respect they deserve. Not everything here is instrumental, but that’s ok, ’cause the shitty rip from the vhs I’m listening to right now effectively muffles any meaning that may be hidden in them lyrics.

Budding record thieves take note! I don’t actually own this rare-as-hen’s-teeth double LP + 7″ 45 set. I’ve only ever watched the movie. But I’ve done so many, many times, and enjoyed it every time. While a couple of these tracks were unearthed on THE DRAGONS’ B.F.I. CD release and the CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD surf comp. from a few years back, that still leaves like an album and a half of this stuff in the vaults. Here’s hoping the good folks at EM Records will see fit to re-release this, after they give us that CORKY CARROLL Laid Back reish in the ensuing months.

Until then, it’s back to my crappy VHS rip. Ah, the lengths we go to for a good ride . . .

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4 Responses to “Good Days, Beautiful Waves”

  1. Joe Bagedonuts October 12, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    I have a copy of the album and an axion turn table and would be glad to record it and convert it for you to itunes format

    • mrowster October 12, 2012 at 5:51 am #

      Mr Bagedonuts: I would be overjoyed if you would do this, as I still haven’t yet found a way to hear it outside my VHS copy. Do you use Dropbox?

  2. Beat Thief November 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    you can find it on soulseek and I have a digital copy of it – if you want a copy, feel free to send me an email and I’ll happily upload it for you – you’ve beaten me to the punch with this review because I’m doing a writeup of it for Word is Bond Jazz but fear not I’ll definitely reference your post !

    • mrowster November 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

      Haha – as I haven’t yet managed to hear the LP version of this, I might well come begging cap-in-hand at your doorstep to get it. I keep hoping EM Records out of Japan might reissue it at some point, given their interest in Rural Records/Dennis Dragon. Will definitely check out your review though, lemme know when you get it up. Cheers.

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