3 October 2011
The Surfaris - Shake
Year of Release: 196? (This reissue 1973)
Now here's a puzzler for your collective minds. The Surfaris are, I would hope, familiar to all readers of this blog as the authors and performers of the legendary "Wipe Out" single, a song originally composed as an off-the-cuff B-side which subsequently went on to sell in terrifying quantities as the radio play favoured track. Only yesterday I had the television on and an advert using "Wipe Out" as its soundtrack was burbling away in the background - if The Surfaris signed a reasonable contract at the time of its original release, I shudder to think how much money they've made from it since.
In 1973 Paramount acquired the rights to The Surfari's catalogue in the UK and decided to issue the evergreen single once more in the hope that it may enter the charts again. There's absolutely nothing unusual in that. What is unusual, however, is what they opted to place on the flip side. Contrary to the label's "1963" credit, their cover of Sam Cooke's "Shake" originally emerged on the Dot label in the USA in 1967 during a period when nobody much cared about the band anymore. As such, it sank like a stone. That's a bit of a shame, as the track now sounds like a mean old garage track which would sound completely at home on any compilation such as Pebbles or Nuggets - it swaggers confidently, grooves mightily and sounds more of its moment than any Surfaris record issued in the late sixties has a right to sound. Instead of sticking with the surf guitar twang, it would seem the boys diversified towards the end of their careers.
Despite all this, the track is still a bafflement to me. The Surfari's official website suggests that they disbanded around August 1966, which makes the 1967 release date seem strange. It also makes no mention of "Shake" at all, as if the damn thing never happened. But - unless there's something strange going on - it surely did, for here is the audio proof below. I've already begged you lot on Facebook and Twitter, and I'm begging you again now - anyone with the full facts surrounding this track should definitely drop me a comment. It's ace, and I'd appreciate it if I had a bit more background knowledge about how it dropped into the world.
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