January 18, 2018
Jan & Dean are best remembered for their string of surf and car hits during the 1960’s. Jan Berry may not have had the extended musical vision of Brian Wilson, but in the studio he was able to combine the voices of the duo into a melodic choir. In concert they were unable to re-produce their soaring sounds of the studio, so they mixed comedy into their act.
In 1965 they owed the Liberty label one last album. Filet Of Soul was a mixture of live performances, comedy, and studio sound effects. The label promptly rejected it for release. A year later Jan Berry was involved in a car accident that virtually ended the duo’s career for over a decade. The label released Filet Of Soul three weeks after the accident to cash in on the Jan & Dean legacy. They removed the sound effects and most of the comedy. I was a big fan, but even I knew the album was terrible.
Now 52 years later, Filet Of Soul Redux: The Rejected Master Recordings has returned in all its fake crowd noises, studio sounds, and some of the lamest comedy ever to grace an album. And yes, it is still terrible but at least for the hard core fan, it is a slice of the 1960’s that mercifully, in this case, will not be revisited.
The best past of the release are the liner notes by Dean Torrence. He gives a full history as to the why of the music. One other strong feature was the backing band on the true live performances. They are all introduced, so I assume they were actually present. The brass section is excellent but how Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame drummer Hal Blaine got involved in all of this is beyond me.
The listener quickly learns that the duo should not sing The Everly Brothers (“Cathy’s Clown”) or the Beatles (“Michelle” and “Norwegian Wood”) and can’t sing many of the hits of the day (“Lightning Strikes” and “Hang On Sloopy”).
The truncated original release was in many ways not their fault but this one was intentional. It is a release only for the hard care fan. If you want their best and most enjoyable, seek out their greatest hits compilation.
February 26, 2012
Jan Berry, Arnie Ginsberg, and Dean Torrence were members of the Barrons while in high school. When Dean was called to six months service in the Army reserve, Jan & Arnie signed with the Arwin label. They had one top 10 hit, “Jennie Lee” during 1958, and one other track, “Gas Money” that made the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
One of the more difficult singles to track down was “The Beat That Can’t Be Beat/I Love Linda.” It was very different from the layered sound that Jan Berry would produce during the 1960s. The single received no chart action.
Dean would return and Arnie would enter the navy. Jab & Arnie would be no more and Jan & Dean would go on to create some of the best car and surf music of the 1960s.
January 29, 2012
Jan & Dean were selected as hosts for the T.A.M.I. Show. The concert, held October 28 and 29, 1964, featured some of the biggest music acts in the world including James Brown, The Supremes, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones. It was released as a film shortly afterwards.
“From All Over The World” was the concert’s theme song and played over the film’s opening credits. Released as a single March 13, 1965, it reached number 56 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
It was a song that worked better in the movie as it introduced the acts. It remains one of their least known singles.
May 16, 2011
Jan & Dean released “Sidewalk Surfin'” during the fall of 1964. It became a moderate hit reaching number 25 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
Jan & Dean used The Beach Boys melody of “Catch A Wave” to create lyrics about surfing on land. Thow in some layered harmonies and you have a hit song.
The song would make a brief comback during 1976, when it was reissued as part of The United Artists Silver Spotlight reissue series. It would reach the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Bubbling Under Chart at number 107.
They were just a few decades too early. Skateboarding today is one of the premier X Games sports. Millions of skateboards are sold each year although the sport is no longer called “Sidewalk Surfin'”
May 10, 2011
In many ways “Linda” was the first modern day Jan & Dean single. The layered harmonies were not quite as layered and full as they would quickly become, but they were close.
Jan Berry ws beginning his run as one of music’s technological wizards. I’m amazed at how long the opening name Linda goes one. It would reach number 28 on the American Singles Charts and set the stage for their series of classic surf and car singles.
“Linda” remains an essential listen for any fan of Jan & Dean.
May 8, 2011
RIDE THE WILD SURF was the first album I ever bought as a teenager. The title song was released as a single in the fall of 1964 and reached number 16 on the American Singles Charts.
It was a nice up-tempo pop song with typical Jan & Dean harmonies. The movie was light weight but inoffensive. The film starred Tab hunter and Fabian, which should sum up the quality of the cast.
Many times, “Ride The Wild Surf” is a forgotten song in the Jan & Dean catalogue. One of the more underrated surf songs of the era.
May 7, 2011
Jan & Dean produced some of the best and well produced surf and car singles of the 1960’s. Every once in awhile, however, they would get a little to cute.
“Batman” was their last single issued before Jan’s auto accident. It was inspired by the BATMAN televison series theme and was a part of their JAN & DEAN MEET BATMAN album, which was really a comedy album.
When comparing this single to many of their past hits, it comes up short. It only reached number 66 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart and even that may have been to high.