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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Music Reviews »

Permalink Calvin Cool--The Surfer's Beat

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Got this Cd a while back, on the Acid Symposium label. Appears to be a reissue of one of those "knock 'em out in the studio" records that sold for a buck forty-nine at your local supermarket or drug store.

The band seems to be (or at least _sounds _like) a Dano bass, a Hammond organ player going for the "Baby Elephant Walk" sound who sometimes plays either reg'lar or tack piano, a wailing Plas Johnson-style sax, a part time trumpet guy, drums, & a part time rhythm guitar. Topping all this is a lead guitar guy playing a Fender through what I'm guessing is a Maestro Fuzz Tone dialed in just enough to make his axe sound downright nasty!

A couple of Beach Boys songs on here, plus "Pipeline", the rest appear to be mysterious originals that either sound like they were meant for this record, or were outtakes from an unfinished "Do the Popeye" dance LP.

Groovy numbers on here include their version of "Pipeline" (picture a piano-led jazz band backing up a searing fuzz'd, echo'd and tremolo'd lead guitar), "Hang Ten" (a Ramsey Lewis-style piano number with fuzzy guitar), "Fog Horn" (one of the "Popeye" type numbers, with some wize guy blowing into an empty bottle during the turnarounds), and "El Tecolote" ( a sort of Jack Nitzsche cha-cha surf thing, easily the most interesting number here). My only beef with the record is too many of the songs are in the key of C and have similar grooves, none of which I'd call "surf". Taken as a whole, however, it can be breezy fun, like a record by the Mar-Ketts or some other studio band du jour.

The one question on my mind--who is playing that awesome fuzz guitar on the record? To me, it sounds far too aggressive to be Tommy Tedesco, or Al Viola. I'm wondering if "Calvin Cool" is a pseudonym for "Jerry Cole". Anybody know?


John Blair has the LP listed as "Calvin Cool & The Surf Knobs: The Surfer's Beat" on the Charter label, 7/63.

He also has 2 45's by Calvin Cool: Beach Bash / El Tecolote and El Tecolote / Weekend. The first on Charter and the 2nd on Astra.

No other details though.

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"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

Cool album.

Here's a small clue:

Milton "Shorty" Rogers was the arranger. So the question remains, which of his Surf Knobs played guitar. He arranged a lot of studio sessions in the '60s, so who were his go-to guys on guitar? Al Viola did work with Rogers on other (jazz) recordings.

The playing isn't so distinctive as to identify the guitarist. It could have been so many players -- Tedesco, Podolor, Cole, Glen Campbell, etc. Maybe even Davie Allan.

I think Gaynel Hodge was the organist. Maybe you could ask him who played guitar, if he remembers:

Last edited: Aug 24, 2009 22:20:10


One of my all-time favorite front covers and a pretty good album too.

T H E ✠ S U R F I T E S

Thanks for the info fellas!

After listening to my Jerry Cole records last night whilst brewing up some barbecue sauce, I think Jerry Cole couldn't be the guy--he's even wilder than the mystery surf knob! The Al Viola guess seems to hold water, but it's the meanest sound I've heard from the man if it's him.


Bang Bang. Therein lies the answer.

This one:

Not this one (although cool):

And not this monstrosity:

Just by coincidence, last night I was playing this awesome song with a friend to demonstrate the equally awesome '60s Valco tremolo. Which led us to look into Billy Strange's website
and discography

What do you know? About 1/3 the way down ... Calvin Cool & The Surf Knobs, Billy Strange on guitar. Makes sense.

Ah, Mr. Strange! now THAT makes sense.

Thanks for the detective work, V.I.!


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