Dick Dale: King of the Surf Guitar

Super-stoked anthology of Dick Dale’s surf-related tunes

There are many anthologies, greatest hits collections and album reissues of Dick Dale’s material, but none have done the service of separately collecting his surf and hot-rod oriented tracks into parallel volumes. RockBeat’s issue of King of the Surf Guitar (not to be confused with his 1963 album of the same name) and At the Drags does just that, offering a generous twenty themed tracks each. The surf volume includes Dale’s signature rendition of the folk song “Miserlou,” alongside popular singles and album tracks such as “Let’s Go Trippin’,” “Surf Beat,” “The Wedge” and the Bo Diddley-styled “Surfin’ Drums.” The latter even features Dale himself playing out the drum break to close the track. Though Dale’s reverb-heavy staccato guitar picking is the collection’s big ticket, there are also a few vocal tracks, including the B-side “Secret Surfin’ Spot,” as featured in the film Beach Party (and covered by Annette Funicello), and the R&B-flavored single “Mr. Peppermint Man.” Backing Dale were both his Del-Tones and a number of Los Angeles studio hotshots, including Barney Kessell, James Burton, Neil Levang, Leon Russell, Steve Douglas, Plas Johnson, Hal Blaine and the Blossoms. The twenty tracks collect sides from Dale’s tenures on both Deltone and Capitol, and offer stereo (2, 5, 7-8, 10-11, 14-15, 19-20) together with AM radio-ready mono. Rock Beat’s tri-fold slip case includes four full panels of liner notes and an eight-page booklet that adds four more pages of song notes (by Alan Taylor and Dave Burke of Pipeline magazine) and a page of musician and production credits. [©2012 Hyperbolium]

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