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Farm (Surf): The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun [Digipak]

Track List

>Crystal Shingles
>Wind 'n Sea
>Crumple Car
>Tobies Oats
>San Ho Zay
>Snake Charmer
>Eater, The
>Cruzer, The
>Ground Shuffle
>Coming of the Dawn

Album Notes

Personnel: Ernie Knapp (guitar); Adrien Miller (recorder, finger cymbals, background vocals); Doug Dragon (piano, Farfisa); Dennis Dragon (drums); Roger Heath (congas, background vocals).

Liner Note Authors: Dennis Dragon; Denny Aaberg.

Recording information: Capitol Records, Hollywood; Sunwest Recording Studios, Hollywood.

The Innermost Limits of Pure Fun was a surfing movie filmed in Australia during the late '60s by George Greenough, and was notable for being the first film to include slow-motion footage from inside the tunnel of a massive wave, a technological breakthrough at the time. This gorgeous image is replicated on the cover of Sundazed's 2016 reissue of the album's soundtrack, which was scarcely available on vinyl around the time of the film's release in the early '70s. The movie's soundtrack was created in California by Farm, an ad hoc group helmed by surfer Denny Aaberg and including members of the Dragons, whose member Daryl Dragon would become much better known as one half of '70s soft rock superstars Captain & Tennille. As with the Dragons, Farm's music wasn't the typical reverb-covered twangy guitar music usually associated with surf music, but rather a pre-fusion blend of organ-heavy blues/jazz-derived rock. The group's largely improvised music was usually instrumental, although there are a few songs with vocals, such as the folky "Crumple Car" and the bluesy "The Eater," both of which are acoustic ditties with lyrics that are more about cruising in automobiles than riding waves. While many of the album's songs are short and a perfect fit for brief movie scenes, a few tracks stretch out, such as the funk jam "Animal," which has a smoking drum solo and what sounds like distant waves shimmering in the background. Daryl Dragon (the future Captain) plays vibraphone and melodica on the swinging "Wind 'n Sea," and tracks like "Ground Shuffle" work up a dirty Booker T. & the MG's-inspired organ groove. The light, easy "Outeriff" has more of a laid-back Santana vibe, only with pianos instead of scorching, spiritually minded guitar solos. The album ends with "Coming of the Dawn," a 13-minute suite that seems like several songs stitched together, complete with fadeouts. The track starts out calmly, but gets heavy and trippy halfway through, covering everything with phasing effects. In retrospect, the album seems to have far less to do with the typical Ventures or Dick Dale style of surf music (which was way past its peak of popularity in the early '70s anyway) and more in common with '90s/2000s bands that married elements of surf and exotica, like Friends of Dean Martinez or the Vanduras, not to mention a tinge of darkness or melancholy that was uncommon to the genre's original era. ~ Paul Simpson


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