Music for surf and sultry weather

| | Comments (1)

One of the delightful surprises of our recent vacation was the unexpected upgrade of our rental vehicle. We'd booked a minivan, but Dollar was out of them when we arrived at FLL past midnight, so they issued us a blue Dodge Durango SUV. (Yeah, it's got a hemi.)

In exploring the controls, I noticed the magical alphanumeric sequence "MP3" on the CD player. I just happened to have, in the case with CD-Rs of data for work, a couple of CD-Rs with a compilation of '60s music, including the entirety of King Of The Surf Guitar: The Best Of Dick Dale & His Del-Tones, plus several subtropical songs by Santo and Johnny (including a nice cover of "Harbor Lights" and a long version of "Sleepwalk"), and a few Jan and Dean tunes. The kids loved the Dick Dale album, and the four-year-old asked to hear "the surfing music" again and again. She also objected loudly when the Dick Dale music gave way to the opening bars of Gene Pitney's "Town without Pity" -- the next folder in sequence on the CD. (I know, I know. The self-pitying lyrics are ludicrous, and what self-respecting girl could love someone singing such whiny lyrics with such a whiny intonation, but you have to love the saxophone solo, and the song is sufficiently over the top to have some camp value. Plus I can't hear the song without thinking of John Belushi singing it in an SNL sketch about Indira Gandhi losing an election to an Untouchable -- who turned out to be Dan Aykroyd playing Robert Stack playing Eliot Ness. But I digress.)

So the rapid-fire picking of Dick Dale and the sultry slide of Johnny Farina's steel guitar formed most of the soundtrack of our tour of the land of swaying palm trees and crashing waves.

Most of the soundtrack, but not all, as the vehicle had another nice surprise -- Sirius satellite radio, which has an excellent "standards" channel playing music from the Great American Songbook.

(While waiting in line for the Enchanted Tiki Room show at Disney World, listening to what sounded like Martin Denny's "Quiet Village" on the PA system, I realized that we should have had some '60s exotica to fill out our Florida playlist -- that, and some Jackie Gleason Orchestra.)

When we picked up the car, I assured my wife that if we'd rather have the minivan, Dollar would exchange it when one was available. After I discovered the MP3 player and the satellite radio, I told her there was no way we were turning the Durango in, 18 MPG and $2.50 gas notwithstanding.

For the record, the soundtrack for last year's family vacation through Texas was "No!" by They Might Be Giants.


W. Author Profile Page said:

Ah, yes, Mr. Dick Dale. I had that album before I digitized all my music onto the computer and iPod.

I saw Dale at a St. Louis nightclub about five years ago. It was an awesomely loud, entertaining show. He uses the thickest guitar strings in the business, mainly because he's so hard on them. It's also been reported that in the 1950s, Dale essentially beta-tested all the guitar amps that Leo Fender designed. He blew out 23 of the early prototypes. The 24th survived Dale's reverb and volume-drenched attack, and it became a flagship model of the Fender amp line.

Another interesting thing: that trumpet solo in the middle of "Miserlou" is played by Dale himself. I saw him do it at the St. Louis show. I found out later that Dale was a trumpet player in his high-school band before he got into guitar-slinging full-time.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 12, 2005 12:49 AM.

Marketing tip: Pick a name that's easy to Google was the previous entry in this blog.

Breathing through a tube is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]