Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Challengers - Surfbeat (1963)


One of the most popular of the early Southern Californian surf bands, the Challengers were formed by drummer Richard Delvy after he left the Bel-Airs, who had recorded one of the very first surf singles, "Mr. Moto." Their debut LP, Surfbeat (early 1963), was one of the very first all-instrumental surf albums and sold 200,000 copies, an astronomical number for a regional act. Recording several albums over the next couple of years, most of their repertoire consisted of covers of popular rock and surf tunes; undeniably exciting at the time, their lack of originality can make their work generic to wade through. The moody "K-39," also available on surf compilations, is their most famous cut.


Released in January, 1963, Surfbeat was one of the very first surf music albums to hit the stores. The album is almost a history of surf music itself, or at least its roots, with excellent takes of rock & roll staples like "Red River Rock," "Ramrod," "Movin' & Groovin," and "Torquay" aboard. With a nod to Dick Dale and the Beach Boys, the group also covered "Surfin' Safari," "Miserlou," "Let's Go Trippin'," and "Surf Beat." This is not only a historically important album, but one that really rocks as well.


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