ON RED VINYL
The post-war explosion of rock, pop and r&b that began in the ‘50s was fueled by a steadily increasing flow of singles and later, albums. The independent labels led the charge of new releases and in due time, the major labels followed suit. This created a huge demand for session musicians who could play a variety of styles and get it down quick, because the next session was booked right behind it! Long Beach, CA native Alvin W. “Al” Casey rose to prominence as an ace session player at this time, recording with a variety of artists. In his teens, Casey began working with producer Lee Hazelwood in Phoenix, playing first on records by Sanford Clark and then as member of Duane Eddy’s Rebels. Though primarily known as a guitarist, Casey played piano in the Rebels and wrote one of their biggest hits, “Ramrod.” He also co-wrote “40 Miles of Bad Road” with Eddy. In addition to guitar and keyboards, Casey was also adept at steel guitar and bass. Quite a valuable guy to have around the studio!
Beyond the studio, Casey began working with his own band, the Al Casey Combo, splitting his time between Phoenix and Los Angeles. Signing with independent label Stacy, Casey and the band scored with three instrumental hits. The third of these hits, “Surfin’ Hootenanny,” led Casey to cut an entire surf LP with Hazelwood. The Surfin’ Hootenanny album saw Casey expertly incorporating the styles of Eddy, Dick Dale and the Ventures and combining them with his own. The range of guitar tones he captures from cut to cut is staggering, from menacing fuzz to muted melody echo lines to dripping wet reverb and beyond. His multi-edged guitar attack was buoyed by contributions from Leon Russell and Hal Blaine, along with other members of L.A.’s “Wrecking Crew.” Female background vocals were provided by “The K-C-Ettes,” which was actually The Blossoms in disguise. Together, they created one of the most listenable albums of the surf era.
It also became one of the most desired yet elusive surf albums. Not long after releasing Surfin’ Hootenanny, Stacy folded, leaving Casey without a label home and the album without a manufacturer. The album’s reputation grew with the passage of time, it’s scarcity making it a hot item on the collector market. Fortunately, Sundazed has located the original analog session tapes and made this surf masterpiece available once again. In addition to the original 12 tracks, this Sundazed edition adds three alternate takes, expanding your listening pleasure. As if that weren’t enough, the album is pressed on “sunset red” vinyl! Whether you’re a novice surf fan or the most silver surfer around, this album will launch you on a journey you’ll want to take again and again. -www.sundazed.com