Friday, May 19, 2006

Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin' with me

Calista has discovered the Beach Boys, and become a huge fan. Her favorite three songs are "California Girls," "Good Vibrations" and "Sloop John B." Can't say I have an arguement with any of her choices, as they are pretty iconic representations of the band's evolution over time. She also is pretty keen on their mid-80s rendition of "California Dreamin'."

So, being the clever Dad that I am, I decided to widen her musical horizons and brought home some Jan & Dean for her to listen to. She didn't take to the jokey duo quite as much as she did the Beach Boys, but she perked up quick when she made the connection between "Sidewalk Surfin'" and "Catch a Wave." And I managed to impress her by pointing out that Dean sang on the Beach Boys' recording of "Barbara Ann." Other faves are "She's My Summer Girl" and "Surf City" -- pretty much what you'd expect. I'll probably use her interest as an excuse to bring home some Ventures and Trashmen CDs in the weeks to come.

Calista's interest has sparked a bit of nostalgia on my part, as well. When I was her age, I spent all summer having fun with my best friend, Bill Holt. We'd go back and forth between our houses, since he lived just across the street. His family was much cooler than mine--whereas my dad's record collection consisted almost entirely of Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys, Bill's folks had Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys' "Endless Summer" as well as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. We'd sit there all afternoon, and while the mercury hovered in the upper 90s outside, we'd be cool as could be playing record after record. This was back when you had to put the needle in the groove on the vinyl disk, for all you youngsters out there. We'd listen to all the records over and over again while debating whether or not Evel Knievel would succeed in his attempt to jump Snake River or not in his skycycle, and is maybe, just maybe, Speed Racer could do it in the Mach 5.

The Jan & Dean songs were always a centerpiece of these debates. While discussing stunt jumps and such, invariably "Deadman's Curve" would come on, and we'd listen in hushed tones. Then Bill would gravely inform me that Jan suffered his near-fatal car wreck after they'd recorded the song, and we'd both agree that it was some sort of spooky reverse cause-and-effect. Then we'd listen to "Sidewalk Surfin'" while keeping an eye out for any adults, because they kept singing "bust your buns" over and over again. And you know, that was downright scandalous. Man, we really thought we were cutting edge rebels back then. How times change.

Now Playing: Jan & Dean All the Hits: Surf City to Drag City

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