Preston Epps & The Bongo Teens: Surfin’ Bongos

PrestonEppsBongoTeens_SurfinBongosBongo-lined surf music from 1963

Released on the Original Sound label in 1963, the 12 tracks combined a trio of bongo-heavy tunes by Preston Epps, including his one true hit “Bongo Rock,” together with nine tracks recorded by Dave Aerni on guitar and Paul Buff on everything else as the Bongo Teens. Epps’ freak hit (which rivals Sandy Nelson’s “Let There Be Drums” for most famous Billboard top twenty hit with a drum lead) begat a few more singles, including the low-charting “Bongo Bongo Bongo” included here. The Bongo Teens’ tracks lean to guitar, organ and sax-led covers of then-popular surf and non-surf songs, with Epps’ bongo rhythms running underneath and taking a few solos. What make this pair of reissues so interesting are the bonus tracks, and the release of separate mono and stereo versions. Watch out for Essential Media’s 12-track version of this set – the Crossfire reissues have 23 tracks. The bonuses include rare singles by the Rotations and Brian Lord & The Midnighters, along with Bongo Teens sides (with and without Preston Epps) that were only released abroad. Despite its cash-in origins, this is some pretty groovy go-go music, and the remastered sound is excellent. [©2013 Hyperbolium]   (Mono)   (Stereo)

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