Hailed as “magnificent” by the Los Angeles Times, director Dale Davis’ film The Golden Breed captured surfing at the height of its longboard era. Featuring the sport’s top stars, it was beautifully shot in Hawaii, California and other scenic locales. However, when the film was released in 1968, surfing was in the midst of a revolution. Australian Nat Young won the 1966 World Championship using a shortboard, which was 3 to 4 feet shorter than a longboard, allowing greater maneuverability and increased speed. This feat sparked a mass move toward shortboards, making longboards appear passé in comparison. In other words, longboards were no longer cool in 1968 and as a result, The Golden Breed quickly disappeared from theaters.
Scored by Mike Curb, Jerry Styner and Harley Hatcher, the film’s soundtrack is just as evocative and vivid as its aquatic footage. Curb assembled a “first call” set of studio musicians to record it, including Curb soundtrack veteran Davie Allan on guitar. Trimming the fuzz and turning up the reverb, Allan turns in a superb performance with his guitar lines often juxtaposed against Tijuana Brass-style horns to great effect. Curb recruited members of the Riptides as vocalists as well as Mike Clifford, who sang the film’s title track. This aggregate group of musicians and vocalists was dubbed “The Back-Wash Rhythm Band” on the LP’s liner notes, obscuring their true identities. Capitol Records released the album as Capitol # 2886 but without a successful movie to promote it, it sold few copies and was duly deleted.
In the years since its release, the superb quality of the soundtrack earned it a well-deserved spot among the best recordings of the surf genre. Collectors eagerly sought it, guaranteeing high prices when an elusive copy was found. But just as longboards have made a big comeback, Sundazed now brings this classic album back from the beach for your listening pleasure. Sourced from the original Capitol analog tapes, it sounds better than ever.
music by Davie Allan