One of the most intriguingly retarded LP's of all time is The Surfsiders Sing The Beach Boys Songbook. Little is known about this curiosity, but as far I can tell, it was one of those Beach Boys "soundalike" knockoffs peddled to unsuspecting kids back in the sixties. Kids like me–that hitched down to the E.J. Korvette's on Central Ave to pick up the latest cheapo kid-bait crap like The Beatles Story or Meet the Beetle Beats. The Surfsiders Sing The Beach Boys Songbook is essentially an insane smorgasbord of Beach Boys covers like California Girls, and When I Grow Up To Be A Man, as performed by what sounds like drunken studio louts and their parcheesi playin' cronies.
What sets this low-budget (no-budget?) record apart is the unmatched gusto that these anonymous troubadours attack the microphones with. In an apparent frenzy to not screw up the mimeographed lyrics thrust before them, our heroes belt it out like Mack trucks hell-bent on Surf! The Design Records houseband checks in hapharzardly with appropriate Don Martin-like retorts to every loopy shout: She's My Little Deuce Coupe! (BLAT! BLAT!) You Don't Know What I Got! You Don't Know What I Got! (BLAT! BLAT! BLAT! BLAT! BLAT! BLAT! BLAT!)
It's a far cry from the sun-dappled shores of Hawthorne by the sea, I can tell you that. These barbershop warblings (with a heavy dose of older white man oompah) swing along like Lawrence Welk in a speedo on a sunny day. Lotsa hoopla on this record. Somehow, the off-key harmonies and discordant horns reveal innocent qualities that lurk beneath the atonal madness. Or maybe I just don't know good from bad anymore. I don't know. The only thing that I can be sure of these days, is that I know that I like The Surfsiders.
On occasion, I've played selections from The Surfsiders Sing The Beach Boys Songbook (409 and Little Honda are in heavy rotation), but leave it to fellow fmu dj Gaylord Fields to bravely spin the whole freakin' thing in its entirety! Check out the show right here (Real Audio archive). I'll never forget Gaylord's telephone greeting when I called the studio during his Surfsiders fest: "Hello, WFMU. Sorry!"