Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and surf music aficionados everywhere, it’s time to climb into the time machine and take a trip back to the 1960’s.
When surf music comes to mind, the names Beach Boys and Jan & Dean leap to the forefront. There were other groups producing the sounds of summer including Dick Dale, The Fantastic Baggys, The Rip Chords and the subject of this review, Ronny And The Daytonas.
During their five year existence, Ronny And The Daytonas issued two albums, over a dozen singles and recorded for three labels. Their entire output, plus some unreleased material, and a solo single by John “Ronny” Wilkin have been combined onto the newly released The Complete Recordings. This is one of the few times that complete actually means complete.
The three periods of their career have distinct sounds. The 1964 album, “G.T.O” with the title hit song was a basic surf and turf album. The music is not the caliber of the Beach Boys or Jan & Dean. Their sound is pleasant enough but they basically used two singers on the harmonies and were not adept enough in the studio to create intricate harmonies. Songs such as “Hot Rod Baby,” “California Bound,” “Bucket T,” and their big hit are pleasant pieces of grade B fluff.
Their 1966 album Sandy was unique for a surf album. The band was located in Nashville and they added a number of subtle country elements to their sound. “Nanci,” “So In Love,” “Somebody To Love Me,” “Be Good To Your Baby,” and “When The Stars Shine Bright” may not have received much commercial attention at the time but in retrospect they were a unique approach to a classic sound.
Their time with the RCA label resulted in a number of single releases that found them moving in more of a straight pop direction. “Diane Diane,” “All American Girl,” Winter Weather,” and “The Girls And The Boys” have a much more sophisticated approach, which holds up well.
As with just about all of the Real Gone reissues, the sound has been scrubbed as clean as possible. The accompanying booklet has an extensive essay by “Ronny Wilkins”, which gives a personal history of the band.
The Complete Recordings is a nice trip back in time with a band that many times slips under the radar. It should please any fan of the 1960’s surf music craze.