- Audio CD (January 1, 2017)
- Imported ed. edition
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Enhanced, Import, Original recording remastered
- Label: Bgo
- ASIN: B0002LNWTS
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,330 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Surf City / Dead Man's Curve
Import, Remastered, Enhanced
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Digitally remastered collation of two original albums on a single CD of the surf duo's first two releases as they appeared in the U.K. Both were released in 1963 and 1964 respectively and includes the hits "Surf City", "Dead Man's Curve", "The New Girl in School", "It's As Easy As 1,2,3", "Honolulu Lulu" and many more.
Top customer reviews
Two albums on one CD:
- Surf City and other Swingin Cities (1963 - their 4th LP)
- Dead Man's Curve / The New Girl in School (1964 - their 6th LP)
Jan and Dean made their first LP in 1960 ("Jan and Dean" for Dore) but had been making singles (45's) since 1958, in fact, their second LP was already given the title of "Jan & Dean's Golden Hits" (1962). However, Jan and Dean's greatest period began in 1963 with the release of their Brian Wilson/Berry penned single "Surf City" and their fourth LP "Surf City and other Swingin Cities" which contained the "Surf City" song. Those playing on that album included Leon Russell on piano and Glen Campbell on guitar (along with several others). The album is obviously in search of an audience as they not only do "Surf City", they do early Rock covers, a Rodgers & Hart standard, and even a version of "I left my heart in San Francisco". It would be "Surf City" that would determine the direction of their music into the Surf and Car genre.
Their Sixth LP, "Dead Man's Curve-The New Girl in School" was obviously dominated by their "Dead Man's Curve" hit single and their earlier single, "Linda". The name of the LP was taken directly from the success of the "Dead Man's Curve" 45-rpm single, which had "The New Girl in School" on its flip side. This LP was a classic in the early `Car' genre but it also does a few `school' genre songs as well.
The "Surf City" album is all over the map as far as its choice of songs, but all the songs are done very well (some, surprisingly well). I give that album 4 ½ stars. The "Dead Man's Curve" album is a classic 60's Car album and it easily rates Five Stars.
I give this whole CD Five Stars.
If you're a fan of the Beach Boys, and only have a "hits" CD of Jan and Dean songs, it would be worth your while to check out the various Twofer CD's as the quality is 100 times better than the `hits' CD's and the whole content of these albums is as good as the early Beach Boys.
This disc is by the British label BGO, a top-notch oldies reissue label that does things right. You have great sound and a decent booklet. This series skipped around with the albums, so they're not in chronological order. Surf City would have fit better with the Take Linda Surfing LP and Drag City should have been matched with Dead Man's Curve. But this is what we have and it's really good anyway.
Surf City is an odd album. As big a Jan & Dean fan as I have been since 1963, I have to admit that I was disappointed in the album. That was the peak year of surf music, with Pipeline, Wipe Out and Surfin' U.S.A. When Surf City rocketed to #1 in late summer I rushed to get the album and was unhappy that it wasn't a surf album. It should have been, and if Jan & Dean had had their way it would have been, but Liberty wouldn't allow it.
Jan & Dean throughout their career had a virtually adversarial relationship with their label. The record business in those days was run by older men who did things a certain way. It worked during the 40's and 50's but the 60's were going to be a whole new deal but they didn't know that yet. Once a label signed you they owned you and turned you over to a producer who told you what you would sing and how you would sing it. The middle aged men who ran these labels were woefully out of touch with what was happening with music for the youth market, but that market was to then a singles market and teen-oriented albums didn't sell well; Ray Coniff, Tony Bennett, Broadway Musicals - those sold well. Liberty's success had been built on Julie London, Martin Denny's Exotica and The Chipmunks. They were at least a little hip. With producer Snuff Garrett they'd had hits with Bobby Vee, Gene McDaniels and Timi Yuro. At least Liberty had been founded by men from the world of music; but Jan & Dean's newfound success hit just as the label was sold to Avnet, an electronics company, who really didn't know what they were doing.
Liberty didn't want Jan & Dean to do surf or car songs. Both Surf City and Drag City were originally listed as B-sides by the label. They didn't want Jan & Dean to change their doo-wop based sound at all. It was identifiable even if it didn't produce big hits for them. Jan & Dean knew better. Liberty wanted to make Jan & Dean into a middle-of-the -road group like, say, the Lettermen; that was their goal. When Surf City was a smash, Jan & Dean wanted the album to be all-surf, but that would take some time. Surf music was still new and there just weren't that many surf songs; they'd already done Surfin' and Surfin' Safari on the Linda album, so they needed some time. Liberty said no. Labels wanted teen albums out while the single was hot and not later. Surf City came out while the single was still #1 on the charts.
What we got was an album mostly of the middle-of-the-road material Liberty was having them record. Instead of a real surf album we get Jan & Dean sing Rodgers & Hart. There are a few Top 40 covers and two songs written for the album, Philadelphia Pa. (a clever tribute to American Bandstand) and Honolulu Lulu (without Dean because he thought the song was too silly). They do their best with everything, after all it's still Jan & Dean and they had a way of revamping old material to make it rock. And it ends with a truly wild party rendition of Soul City, way ahead of its time for pure craziness. I like the album now better than I did back then. But I believe that if the'd had their way their Surf City album would have been as big as the Beach Boys' Surfin' U.S.A. album. I wish Jan & Dean had had the deal Brian Wilson somehow got from Capitol to work totally free of the label's interference.
The Dead Man's Curve/ New Girl In School album is a different story. It's the product of Jan, Dean,Brian Wilson, Roger Christian, Jan's girlfriend Jill Gibson and their roommate Don Altfeld (basically the whole surf & car Mafia).The labels (and Murry Wilson) hated the coziness between Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys singing and playing together. Liberty and Capitol even tried to sue them but got nowhere because the guys all denied it and with all the overdubs nobody could tell who was singing. There is a car side and a school side. Though Dead Man's Curve was on the Drag City album, here it is the souped-up single version with the orchestra and harp. Jan was a genius at orchestration and arranging. One time the music was lost before a concert and he wrote all the parts from his head for a sixteen-piece orchestra in time for rehearsal. The car songs show Christian's influence and 3-Window coupe was also going to be a single for his new group, The Rip Chords,(Bruce Johnston & Terry Melcher). New Girl In School was originally Gonna Hustle You until the label told them the lyrics were too suggestive. Linda was added because as usual they were pressed for time. The two instrumentals are real standouts. "B' Gas Rickshaw (Originally Quasimodo) is as hot a surf instrumental as anyone had ever done. Barons West L.A. is Jan's tribute to his own high school days in the Barons, an unofficial school club. From the music you can feel how cool it was to be one of them.
This is the best way to get these two albums and it allows you to experience the evolution of their sound.