Monday, June 10, 2024

Who among us doesn't dig "That West Coast Sound"? (Modern Sound 561; 1966)


You have a choice: I Love that West Coast Sound, by The Jalopy Five or That West Coast Sound, by The Jalopy Five.  That is, you can go by the front jacket or the back.  And, of course, some of these are not by the Jalopy Five (a Hit Records alias, anyway), which means I'll have to track down the original artists and dates by referring to the Hit Records singles.  Easily accomplished with 45cat and Discogs.

And, good grief, Blogger must be on its last legs.  It took me several minutes to get those two images in their proper place AND properly enlarged.  Blogger simply doesn't want to cooperate.  Oh, and I'd initially inserted the cover and label images, in that order.  And Blogger displayed them in reverse order.  Of course.  And, in other news, I've taken to snapping "live" label shots, since my new Epson printer has, at best, a one-centimeter depth of field.  If I want in-focus images, I have to go the Canon route.  But I shall spare no effort to get these fake sounds to you.  For real.  That is my (more or less) sacred pledge.

The liner notes discuss "The British Sound," "The Detroit Sound," and "The Nashville Sound," noting in delightfully redundant fashion that "each is distinctive within itself."  That's like calling something "unique in its singular way."  Anyway, in case you weren't paying attention, this LP features "that" West Coast sound, and my first response was, "Cute blonde."  My second response was, "Hit Records never did a good job with the California sound."  And, as a rule, it did not--Its Beach Boys knockoffs are typically lacking.  But here we have some actually decent imitations of Jan and Dean, the B. Boys, and the Mama's and the Papa's, as the latter (for some reason) called themselves.

Did producer (and California Street cowriter) William Beasley say, "Let's assemble our more passable efforts in this area"?  Was that premeditated, or is the track selection just a lucky accident?  Whichever the case, Sloop John B is a totally acceptable copy of the Beach Boys hit, Surfer Girl (even though it changes the melody in spots!) features unusually tight Hit Records harmonies, and Ride the Wild Surf beautifully captures the Jan and Dean sound.  I'm impressed.  California Girl(s), on the other hand, falls in the middle range of okay.  It's hardly the worst budget Beach Boys copy, but the famously awful Pickwick effort, The Surfsiders Sing the Beach Boys Songbook (1965), set the budget-knockoff bar at a record low!  (An LP best experienced with a licensed therapist on hand.)

The filler tracks are fun--California Street in particular (cowritten by producer William Beasley as "Richards").  And Bergen White's She's Come of Age has more than a slight touch of Brian Wilson, meaning that Bergen, as usual, took his pen-a-flip-side-as-quickly-as-possible job seriously.  I really should devote a post sometime to Hit Records filler numbers.

And I took the liberty of correcting California Girl (maybe the cover model is that very girl), though I otherwise retained the credits as displayed.  At least Hit Records' errors were consistent from front to back, and label to cover.  There's a certain integrity, there.

Really, much better than we might expect from a dollar-bin special.  And the engineering, as ever, is gorgeous.  Below I've given the 45 rpm credits and dates, though all the mp3 tags read "The Jalopy Five," and the composer fields are blank--both in concurrence with Modern Sound's layout (or lack thereof).

DOWNLOAD: I Love That West Coast Sound (Modern Sound 561; 1966)

Sloop John B--Jalopy Five, 1966
Monday Monday--Jalopy Five, 1966
California Dreaming--Jalopy Five, 1966
California Girls--The Chellows, 1965
California Street (Dorothy Jean and William Beasley)--Johnny and the Jalopy Five, 1965
Ride the Wild Surf--The Roamers, 1964
Little Old Lady From Pasadena--The Roamers, 1964
Hey Little Cobra--The Roamers, 1964
Surfer Girl--Jalopy Five, 1963
She's Come of Age (B. White)--Bobby Brooks, 1965



musicman1979 said...

Glad that you finally posted another Modern Sound compilation album! the timing was perfect; Gilmarvinyl is posting the last album from the label that you shared here a year ago, "Sound of Silence" on his YouTube channel.

For a later-day Modern Sound compilation, this is actually one of the better albums from them. "She's Come of Age" sounds like Bobby Russell trying to simultaneously do Beach Boys and the Four Seasons at the same time! Actually pretty good; that could be Charlie McCoy playing the harmonica on that selection.

Actually pretty decent lineup of covers. Although Michelle, Cass, Denny, John, and the rest of the members of The Wrecking Crew are missing on their Mamas & Papas covers, they do a pretty good job aping the original sound of the recordings, with "Monday Monday" sounding more like the Mama's and the Papa's than "California Dreaming" does.

"California Street" has a very similar sound to another Bobby Russell original listed under the Chords name around the same time that this album came out titled "2+2":

The Jan & Dean covers are pretty good, with "Ride the Wild Surf" having more of an edge than "Little Old Lady Than Pasadena", at least the Nashville players at least get the flavor of the original hit records if not directly aping Jan & Dean's lead vocals. The Music is slightly different, yet remaining the same on some of these cuts.

All three Beach Boys covers are excellent on here with Bobby, Buzz, and Bergen really nailing their harmonies on "Sloop John B", giving us their overall vocal sound (and doing a good job nailing their harmonies) on "California Girls", and totally surprising us by doing "Surfer Girl" in the style of the Johnny Mann Singers!! Never thought I would ever get an Easy Listening vocal version of "Surfer Girl", yet it is a really great cut on this.

Bobby, Bergen, Buzz, and Co. pull off an excellent collection here! Will be looking for a physical copy of this one for sure. More than deserves a five star rating from me.

Buster said...

Yes, Blogger has been in rare form lately. It's placement of photos seems downright random. "Oh, you want the photo here? We think it would work better down there."

I use a lot of color for subheads and song names, and Blogger's latest trick has been to refuse to change the color of existing text. No, you have to turn on the color, type the words, then turn off the color. And when you try to make text into a link, it adds the link but repeats the text, so you have to edit out the original wording.

Oh, well, at least it lets me comment on posts these days. Most of the time, anyway. Sometimes I have to change browsers and turn on a VPN for it to work.

Now that the rant is complete, allow me to compliment you on your latest foray into the overgrown wilderness of the budget record industry.

Buster said...

Eeek - a grammatical error in my second sentence. A contraction instead of possessive adjective!

Timmy said...

Nice. Thanx.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


I agree with your review, and another listen to "California Girls" convinced me that the vocal blend was better than I'd first thought. It's an adroit facsimile of a number whose chord changes are very easy to get wrong (a descending IV/I sequence, with bII resolving to the tonic in tritone chord substitution fashion, to be precise!). I agree on the Four Seasons/B. Boys mix in the Bergen number, and "2+2" definitely has the same vibe as "C. Street." I comply with your top rating. Thanks for your in-depth feedback!


Its no big thing, as the expression goes. (Sounds of pots and pans crashing.) Its an error I find myself making more often that I wish to admit. Thanks for the answer to the font-color issue, which I started noticing three posts back. And the budgets make for complicated research, not only in the matter (in this case) of tracking down the original release credits, but often discovering the three, four, or five permutations (sometimes across label groups) of the exact same material. Currently, I ripped a Ruth Brown knockoff credited to three different aliases on three different labels.


You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed.

Graham said...

I'd love to see that post on 'filler' (e.g. original) songs written for the Hit Records compilation albums when it get's written.

I'm actually surprised that a low budget record lable would go to the trouble of having original material written for albums like this.

Lee Hartsfeld said...


I'll have to get started on that. There should be enough B-side originals to fill a post.

My guess is that the advantage of original material would be royalties that went directly to the label.

Graham said...

I look forward to seeing the article when it drops. Your idea makes sense, but it's still a surprise to see it being done.

Anonymous said...

A hearty RIP to Buzz Cason. I've bought every record I find with his name on it and he rolled with every flow that came along.

The Spar story is interesting, with roots that begin with Sam Phillips, Billy Sherrill, Jimmy Buffett and on and on.