RockBeat Records is back! The label, founded by by Arny Schorr of S’more Entertainment and employing James Austin in the same capacity in which he served at Rhino Records (Vice President of A&R), has already delivered music from an eclectic roster of artists including Jackie DeShannon, Glen Campbell and Todd Rundgren. The RockBeat team has just announced four new projects that are every bit as stylistically diverse as one might expect from the label: a box set of surf music classics, anthologies of ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons’ early band The Moving Sidewalks and novelty record king Dickie Goodman, and a reissued record dedicated to the music of television’s Dallas! All four titles are due on September 25.
Perhaps the most exciting title in this quartet is the 4-CD box set Surf-Age Nuggets. Housed in a large box which will also contain a book annotated by compilation producer Austin, the compilation includes instrumental classics from the period between 1959 and 1966. Though a complete track listing is not yet available, the box promises to include such trailblazing bands as Dick Dale & the Del-Tones, Bobby Fuller, the Velvetones, the Shan-Tones, the Valiants, the Ramrods, the Surf Teens, and the Royal Coachmen. Expect to hear plenty of twangy electric guitars and Fender bass, tremolo effects and reverb on this tour of the influential music that emerged from the Southern California scene as the 1960s began. RockBeat assures that many obscure tracks will appear on this set designed to reflect the period when “music, sport and teenage lifestyle came together and…the attitude that surfing has always been a “rebel sport.”
After the jump: What was Billy Gibbons up to, pre-ZZ Top? And it’s a Ewing family get-together! Plus, Dickie Goodman meets Batman, Jaws, E.T. and more!
The Moving Sidewalks: The Complete Collection looks nearly as deluxe as Surf Age Nuggets. It compiles the recordings of Billy Gibbons’ pre-ZZ Top band which emerged from the ashes of The Coachmen. Gibbons, a native of Houston, Texas, founded the psychedelic blues-rock band as a young man in the mid-1960s with Don Summers joining him on bass, Dan Mitchell on drums and Tom Moore on keyboards. The Moving Sidewalks developed a strong local following and found themselves opening for the likes of the 13th Floor Elevators, and were signed to the Tantara label for an original album, Flash (1968). A non-LP single, “99th Floor,” topped the regional chart in Houston for six weeks, and a subsequent deal with New York’s Wand Records yielded a hit with “Need Me.” Its success led to further opening stints with The Doors and Jimi Hendrix, but when Tom Moore and Don Summers were drafted, it was over for The Moving Sidewalks. Gibbons and Mitchell pressed on and added Lanier Greig to the line-up, creating the earliest incarnation of ZZ Top.
RockBeat’s two-CD/two-LP release The Moving Sidewalks brings together Flash in its entirety, plus a second album featuring alternate tracks and previously unreleased songs. The two CDs will be packaged in mini-LP sleeves, and a 56-page book will also be included in this definitive set.
Without a doubt, the most unexpected of the RockBeat offerings is another title with Texan roots: Dallas: The Music Story. It’s a timely release, however, with TNT’s revival of the 1978-1991 CBS series currently attracting both new and old viewers to the continuing story of the Ewing family. The 1985 Lorimar LP was an original album of songs based on and inspired by Dallas’ denizens of Southfork Ranch. It, of course, features Jerrold Immel’s famous theme that’s still heard every week on TNT, as well as performances from three of the show’s actors: Steve Kanaly, Jenilee Harrison, and Howard Keel, a star of Broadway and Hollywood long before Dallas. (Sorry, J.R. doesn’t sing!) The album is rounded out with performances by country artists like Crystal Gayle, Karen Brooks and Johnny Lee. It makes its CD debut from RockBeat.
An artist of a different stripe altogether is Dickie Goodman (1934-1989). The Brooklyn-born Goodman made an art out of so-called “break-in” or “cut-in” records, stitching together brief snippets of famous songs to create new, comical narratives. His very first record, 1956’s “The Flying Saucer Parts 1 & II”, was a four-minute spoof of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds radio show, co-written with Bill Buchanan. Despite being plagued with a copyright infringement lawsuit, the record (credited to Buchanan and Goodman) triumphed to reach No. 3 on the Billboard chart. Goodman eventually notched up seventeen novelty/comedy hits (five of which went Top 40), earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. His beloved and topical songs like the gold-earning “Mr. Jaws” (No. 4, 1975), “Mr. President” (1974), “Batman and His Grandmother” (1966, at the height of television Bat-mania) and “Hey E.T.” (1982) all appear on RockBeat’s new 27-track Long Live the King. A newly-created track, “Election 2012,” appears on the compilation credited to Dickie and Jon Goodman, his son. (Dickie Goodman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1989.)
All four releases from RockBeat Records are due in stores on September 25! You can pre-order at the bold title links above!