Friday, April 9, 2010

The Sandals - Wild As The Sea (1964-69)

The Sandals were the first true surf-rock group to score a major surf film, virtually defining the sound of the genre with their soundtrack to director Bruce Brown's landmark The Endless Summer. Originally dubbed the Twangs, the group was formed in San Clemente, CA, in 1962 by guitarist Walter Georis and his keyboardist brother Gaston -- recent transplants from Belgium, the siblings brought with them the profound influence of Europe's most popular instrumental band, the Shadows, while lead guitarist John Blakeley, bassist John Gibson, and drummer Danny Brawner were shaped in large part by the Ventures.

Rechristened the Sandells, they signed to the World Pacific label in 1964, soon issuing their debut single, "Out Front." Filmmaker Brown was already licensing World Pacific material for his projects, but had previously employed West Coast jazz recordings -- he felt the Sandells perfectly complemented his latest picture, the surfing documentary The Endless Summer, and the group quickly wrote a new instrumental title theme, changing their name to the Sandals to better suit the project. (Their previous World Pacific recordings were also repackaged as the film's official soundtrack.) Although the Sandals dissolved in 1968, their second and final LP, the soundtrack to Dick Barrymore's The Last of the Ski Bums, did not appear until the following year; Blakeley soon resurfaced in Stoneground, while the Georis brothers later operated the Tri-Surf label.
Wild as the Sea: Complete Sandals 1964-1969 holds 31 tracks --77 minutes of great surf sounds from the Sandals, a low-key Ventures-like group with the distinction of having created the music for the classic Bruce Brown film, The Endless Summer. This record is an incessant party, starting with a dozen instrumental tracks which saturate the brain but are not as redundant as say, the Ramones, the nuances of the jingling-jangling guitars making for great background to any party. These vignettes mostly clock in around the two-minute mark, the vocals on "All Over Again" are pretty humorous with some very uplifting changes and harmonica. The song "Endless Summer" owes more to the Four Seasons than the Beach Boys, and is not to be confused with the title that opens this package, the instrumental "The Theme From Endless Summer." Listen to that first track and see if Hugo Montenegro & His Orchestra didn't borrow flavors from this for his 1968 hit "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly." Stephen McParland's essay Endlessly Summer is all we've come to expect from these excellent releases created by Australia's Raven Records. McParland calls it "An abridged story of the Sandals" history poured over the 12-page booklet which makes for fascinating reading as the music plays. There's material from the film soundtrack to Endless Summer and Last of the Ski Bums, as well as various non-LP singles all making for a true '60s artifact worth seeking out. Hearing this music makes one want to dash down to the video store to rent The Endless Summer, proving Jimi Hendrix wrong when he says you'll never have to hear surf music again! It's well over an hour's worth of listening time with gems like "Children of the Sun," which creates a different kind of atmosphere with its mellow strums and interesting feel. This isn't just another surf band, there's true creativity on the three-and-a-half minute "Coming Down Slow," and interesting acoustics and fuzz in "Summer's Gone." If not as complex as Esquivel's See It in Sound. The Sandals compilation still creates the same mood and stimulating effect. Play both at your next retro-party. When track 22, "Yellow Dove," comes on, you can turn down the volume to Mick Jagger's Performance film and let this be the audio. Try it!

1. Theme From The Endless Summer

2. Scrambler

3. 6-Pak

4. Driftin'

5. Good Greeves

6. Decoy

7. Out Front

8. Wild As the Sea

9. Trailing

10. Jet Black

11. Lonely Road

12. TR-6

13. School's Out

14. Always (I Will Remember)

15. All Over Again

16. Endless Summer

17. Tell Us Dylan

18. Why Should I Cry?

19. Winter Spell

20. Children Of The Sun

21. Agunus Night

22. Yellow Dove

23. Soul Something

24. Coming Down Slow

25. Summer's Gone

26. Return From The Casino

27. Flowers To Dance On

28. Water And Stone

29. Porsche

30. Cloudy

31. House Of Painted Glass
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