This CD contains the Lively Ones
' first two albums, Surf Rider!
and Surf Drums
, both originally released in 1963. During their brief tenure on the indie Del-Fi label, they issued no less than four long-players in addition to a dozen or so singles, the vast majority during the same year as the LPs heard here. The five-piece unit was led by soloists Joel Willenbring
(sax) and Jim Masoner
(guitar), and was filled out with the rhythm section of Ed Chiaverini
(guitar), Ron Griffith
(bass), and Tim Fitzpatrick
(drums). Although the quintet was not substantially prolific, the Lively Ones
' ability to considerably personalize well-chosen remakes separated them from similar-sounding combos. Surf Rider!
gained prominence thanks in part to the regional success of the infectious groove and dark and edgy title track, an overhaul of the Ventures
' "Spudnik." Despite penning their own equally inspired "Goofy Foot" and "Happy Gremmie," the Lively Ones
' bread and butter -- not to mention most of their repertoire -- came as a result of adeptly executed covers of selections by Dick Dale
("Misirlou," "Let's Go Trippin'," and "Surf Beat"), Duane Eddy
("Guitar Man," "Stoked," and "40 Miles Bad Road"), and Link Wray
("Surf Drums" and "Rumble"). Other spin-worthy sides are reworkings of the Bel Airs
' "Mr. Moto," the Rockin' Rebels
' "Wild Weekend," the Fireballs
' effervescent "Rik-A-Tic," and Freddie King
's "San-Ho-Zay," appropriately dubbed "Shootin' the Pier." Needless to say, the double-play CD is a no-brainer for surf rock lovers and a suitable entry point for the curious.