- Copertina flessibile: 256 pagine
- Editore: Backbeat Books (1 maggio 2011)
- Lingua: Inglese
- ISBN-10: 1617130079
- ISBN-13: 978-1617130076
- Peso di spedizione: 440 g
- Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: n. 211.073 in Libri in altre lingue (Visualizza i Top 100 nella categoria Libri in altre lingue)
Surf Beat: Rock 'n' Roll's Forgotten Revolution (Inglese) Copertina flessibile – 1 mag 2011
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Surf and instrumental music fans will be pleased to learn that another decent book on the topic is set to be published by Backbeat books this Spring. Author Kent Crowleys Surf Beat: Rock n Rolls Forgotten Revolution follows the twanging Fenders and nimble fingered players from the genres birth to its persistent survival and reinvention... --Shindig! magazine, March 2011
Kent Crowley writes about music for numerous publications such as Vintage Guitar and Shakin' Fever. He researched Bob Keane's The Oracle of Del-Fi and edited Hollywood's Gold Star Studio founders Stan Ross and Dave Gold's upcoming Gold Star Album. He has consulted on Freak Out in Cucamonga, an upcoming documentary on Frank Zappa's Pal Studios/Studio Z
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down because I do appreciate how much work went into it. What is 'good' about "Surf Beat" is that it exists at all; there are really no books in
print at this time, and at a reasonable price, that explore this short but sweet era of Rock & Roll and its various resurrections. The bad half?
The execution. This book could have and should have been so much more, but the ball was completely dropped.
As others have pointed out, the writing style of the author leaves a lot to be desired. For one thing, the technique of a sort of linear
hopscotch - jumping around from event to event within a time frame without bringing the first event to conclusion, whether or not the events are
directly related (here they are usually not ) - would be fine if the work were about a single band or artist, but when writing about a bigger
picture the technique just ends up being confusing and nonsensical. The other problem for me is the author's 'voice,' or style of writing. He
tries too hard to be way too poetic with his prose and it just comes off as ridiculous, almost like one of those writing contests that are
supposed to be broad parodies of bad writing. After a few pages I did not know whether to throw the book across the room in frustration or just
sit back and laugh. I settled for something sort of in the middle. Beyond that, unsubstantiated statements cloud up the paragraphs like farts on
All-You-Can-Eat chili night, and the pages really begin to stink. The author has apparently never met a hyperbole he didn't like, and then he
exaggerates them. And the ones he really likes he repeats a few times throughout the book, just in case the reader didn't catch them the first
As for the meat of the book, the information, this is the biggest disappointment of all. The author offers up speculation as fact, and opinion
as proof, wrapping it all up in an authoritative attitude that I suppose will bamboozle those readers with no previous knowledge of musical
instruments, recording techniques, Rock & Roll Music in general and Surf Music specifically. Add to this the frequent digressions into areas and
specifics having no bearing on Surf Music --do we really need to know about the Orange County beaches that were dredged, or that the Mafia had a winery?-- and you've got a book with an awful lot of waste matter taking up space while offering no elucidation. Some information is repeated several times throughout the book when there is no need for the reiteration. This makes me wonder if the book was thrown together using various magazine articles that may have been written previously and the duplicate passages were left in by mistake. Then there are the mistakes and factual errors, too numerous to easily list. As an example though, the author states that Niki Sullivan was the lead guitar player for Buddy Holly and the Crickets. This is wrong-Buddy Holly was the lead guitar player for the Crickets, on stage as well as on record, especially during the time that Sullivan was a Cricket. A quick look on YouTube will present one with a few filmed live performances of the Crickets from the
short time when Sullivan was in the band, and it is always Buddy handling the lead guitar chores (the intro, outro, and solo on "That'll Be The
Day; the 'chord soloing' on "Peggy Sue" just for example). Holly did hand over the lead guitar spot to other guitar players, most notably Tommy
Allsup, but this was after Sullivan quit the band. And Sonny Curtis handled the lead guitar on Holly's earlier--pre-fame--Nashville sessions,
but Sullivan's contributions to the Crickets were mainly rhythm guitar and songwriting. Now, by itself this error is pretty unimportant, but as
the errors continue to pile up the work becomes like the man bleeding to death from a thousand little cuts, until the veracity of the
information presented as facts in the book dies a slow death.
So this book makes me sad, because of the missed opportunity. As others have suggested, "Surf Beat" would have benefited greatly from a good, smart editor, or in a more perfect world a good smart editor and a fact checker. This makes me feel bad, because one can see exactly how much hard work and many years of research went into this book, but the final product leaves Surf Music fans still wishing there were a good book about the genre somewhere out there, an entertaining and informative reference guide at a reasonable price that can satisfy the nostalgia of
those of us that grew up with the music as well as teach the younger kids what was/is so special about the musical genre known as "Surf."
This is not a sunny personal recollection of the Southern California surf scene in the 60's, nor is it a memoir of a band member of those days, though it naturally includes a bit of that. What it is is a scholarly book researching the scene and its music and presenting not only a detailed history of the genre but also a thesis, that surf bands created a need for louder guitars and amps and together with the engineers and businessmen pushed guitar technology forward in a way that made possible the electric guitar bands of the mid to late 60's.
Mr. Crowley covers every aspect of the phenomenon from the origins and development of the sport itself in Southern California to the developments of the boards themselves. He investigates the post war L.A. music scene and the rise of small independent recording studios as well as the invigoration of former big band venues like the Rendezvous ballroom in Balboa by surf bands. He introduces people like Leo Fender who eventually change the electric guitar from a rhythm to a lead instrument. Finally he traces the origins of surf music back to saxophone led Rock'n'Roll instrumentals, the twangy guitar of Duane Eddy and even Ritchie Valens. And then it really gets going.
That's only the opening which sets the scene for as full a tale of the history of surf bands as one is probably ever going to find. He covers everyone from big names like Dick Dale & His Deltones, The Surfaris and The Chantays, regional favorites like The Challengers, The Lively Ones and Eddie & the Showmen and many relative unknowns. Most surf hits were regional to Southern California in those days and nationally there were only a few surf instrumental hits like Surfer's Stomp (Mar-Ketts), Pipeline (Chantays), Wipe Out (Surfaris) and Penetration (Pyramids). That's actually it unless you count Jack Nietzche's The Lonely Surfer, but that's a studio-created tone poem by one of Phil Spector's production men and not the work of a surf band. He covers the vocal bands like The Beach Boys back to when they were an actual surf band playing the usual tunes to later on when they became a band who celebrated the Southern California teenage lifestyle in complex jazz harmonies; also Jan & Dean, who played no instruments at all but were also a big part of the whole thing from a national perspective. He gives due respect and credit to both groups while acknowledging their unpopularity among actual surfers.
He goes on through the mid sixties until flower power and psychedelia washed the whole scene away by 1967 (though not surfing itself, of course). He doesn't end there, but carries it on through several revivals to the early 2000's. Most of all he does present a solid case for the "Rock'nRoll's Forgotten Revolution", that surf music developed the electric guitar band so that it could become a force in the music to come.
The book may actually be too much for some potential readers. The author goes into great detail, including footnotes on every aspect of the surf music phenomenon. He goes on about surf bands that nobody outside of Orange County ever heard of. This is not an over-covered music phenomenon like Bob Dylan or The Rolling Stones, so he can't leave much out assuming the reader already knows it. He's putting everything down for the record and that's a lot. He does write in a clear, readable style and never gets dry or boring. It's a book that needed to be written about a time and place and the music it created which seemed about to be entirely forgotten.
EXTRA NOTE: John Blair's book, "Southern California Surf Music, 1960-1966" is an excellent companion to this book. It's mostly a book of photos, many rare that show just about everything Surf Beat is talking about. Surf Beat has its own excellent photo section, but Blair's book, part of Arcadia Publishings "Images of America" series, has a lot more. It also has a good text covering all the basics and might be better for someone who has a casual interest in the topic and who would get too much detail from Crowley's book.
pllus the tales of the surf bands and their ups and downs. i particularly enjoyed the portions related to the contributions of john blair to the history of surf music. this ia a must-read for all music scholars, especially those interested inthe formative era of so. californis music
the abramson archives
Then all of a sudden the girls who'd gone ga-ga over us started hanging out with guys who had long hair. And headbands. And beards. And microphones!! Vocal music!! What happened?
"Surf Beat" brings it all back in stunning detail, with lots of new information about the birth (and death -- at least temporarily) of the surf music sound. Pull on a pair of baggys, "a ragged sweat shirt" (to quote the Beach Boys on their Little Honda), a pair of Huarachi sandals (I spent some time in Chicago in 1963, where they actually sang it as "raunchy" sandals), and enjoy this great read.