Jan And Dean* ‎– The Best Of Jan And Dean

Label:
EMI ‎– CDP 592772
Format:
CD, Compilation, Club Edition
Country:
Released:
Genre:
Style:

Tracklist

1 A Sunday Kind Of Love 2:13
2 Tennessee 2:05
3 Fiddle Around 2:29
4 My Favorite Dream 2:15
5 Linda 2:47
6 Surf City 2:41
7 She's My Summer Girl 2:59
8 Honolulu Lulu 2:17
9 Someday (You'll Go Walking By) 2:22
10 Drag City 2:16
11 Popsicle 2:34
12 Dead Man's Curve 2:29
13 The New Girl In School 3:03
14 The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena) 2:43
15 Ride The Wild Surf 2:20
16 The Anaheim, Azusa & Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review And Timing Association 2:52
17 Side Walk Surfin' 2:35
18 (Here They Come) From All Over The World 2:43
19 Freeway Flyer 2:50
20 You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy 3:19
21 I Found A Girl 2:31
22 Batman 2:47

Credits

Notes

This version is the Columbia Record Club edition.

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streetmouse

streetmouse

April 21, 2017

Riding the same waves and streets as the Beach Boy’s, Jan & Dean were the Simon & Garfunkel of their day, though without the self reflection and heady introspection. It was always difficult, especially over tiny AM radios back in 1960’s, to know whether one was actually listening to Jan & Dean or the Beach Boys. That being said, many of Jan & Dean’s songs were penned, or partially so, by Brian Wilson [“Drag City, “ “Dead Man’s Curve,” “New Girl In School,” “Ride the Wild Surf” along with “Sidewalk Surfin’” and several others] who would eventually give them the song “Surf City,” with the rest of the Beach Boys being so shocked by his generosity with the great song, that they recorded the number themselves, with the two versions sitting out there side by side.

The music of Jan & Dean reflected a new era, that of California, with songs laced with enchanting harmonies, and stories about cars and surf and girls, with two of those aspects being fresh to the ears of east coast listeners. What Jan & Dean lacked was the ability to write and craft most of their own material, and therefore were never able, as the Beach Boys did, move their work into a more artistic era, where they wouldn’t be seen as so much fluff, and be taken a bit more seriously, shifting gears, and getting on board with the coming of the psychedelic wave … but then, that notion was almost a moot point, due to Jan’s accident, with even their attempt at entering the progressive rock field with the album Save For A Rainy Day, where Jan does not appear anywhere at all, except on the cover art, complete with psychedelic lettering, with yet another conceptual album of sorts, where each song was about rain … but again, I digress.

All of their songs were rather middle of the road, and having seen the duo and their half baked antics in concert back before the tragedy, they were never able to re-created their sound live. With that in mind, I’d highly suggest that you get ahold of this, The Legendary Master Series: Surf City - The Best of Jan & Dean, or any of their anthologies, as they will deliver all of the hits without the silliness; though all of their songs had a tongue in cheek perspective. That being said, they did drop by the Beach Boys recording session for the song “Barbara Ann,” where Dean sang backing vocals without getting a credit. Perhaps most interesting was their double sided hit “Dean Man’s Curve” and the b-side “New Girl In School,” with “Dean Man’s Curve” being more than prophetic, as in a mere two years, Jan Berry would be in a horrendous car accident, with his Stingray hitting a parked truck that left him brain damaged. “New Girl In School” went through some changes, including the lyrics and title, which was originally intended to be “Gonna Hustle You,” though Liberty Records insisted on a re-title, feeling that the audience would be insulted by the attitude hustle might infer. Re-tooling the song and calling it “Get A Chance With You,” faired even worse, as the label considered the title and lyrics far too suggestive back in 1964, fearing it would get no radio airplay. Eventually the song was re-recorded in 1973 by Dean Torrance as “Gonna Hustle You,” still it was rather weak, composted of overdubbing his new vocals and old lyrics with his new band.

Not on this compilation is the song “Tijuana,” a reworking of “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena,” where with the backing of The Wrecking Crew, Jan & Dean now had themselves a bonafide song with drug references. While “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” is on the album, the Wrecking Crew are also responsible for this number three chart topping hit taken from the Dodge Dart television commercial, where yes, a little old white haired lady is speeding down the boulevard in her overpowered bit of Detroit mussel.

The rest of the collection is what it is, a snapshot of the atmospheric AM radio during those early years of rock n’ roll, directly marketed at pre-sixteen year olds, and the ever responsive jukebox. Strangely enough, as this disc played on, I became less and less enchanted with the music, and more with my memories of those times. And while I have managed to play it through once, all of the songs are simply uncomfortable and juvenile at this stage of my life. None of the material has the lasting effect that the Beach Boys has had on my life, leaving this material to feel almost embarrassing to me, with my salvation being, that I was eleven years old when I got my first Jan & Dean album … so perhaps I have an excuse. Nevertheless, if you’re of the mind, this is a fine compilation, and certainly part of the surf and car fabric that made up the middle 60’s, before The Beatles released Revolver, and the world shifted on its axis.

Review by Jenell Kesler