Dick Dale
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Fu un chitarrista di Los Angeles, Dick Dale (Richard Monsour, nato in Libano, cresciuto a Boston, titolare di un negozio di dischi a Huntington Beach), a tentare per primo (nel 1960) di rendere l'eccitazione dello sport favorito dei californiani: il surfing. Il suo strumentale Let's Go Trippin fu la grande novita` dell'estate del 1961, e i suoi Del-tones costituirono il trait d'union fra rock strumentale, surf music e garage sound (Surf Beat, Surfin' Drums, Shake'n'Stomp). Surfer's Choice (Deltone, 1962) e` lo storico album di debutto. I suoi brani erano fenomenali, carichi di una furia quasi punk, devastati da riverberi quasi psichedelici e sottolineati da assoli di sassofono arroventati (Steve Douglas).
Leo Fender, proprietario di un negozio di chitarra nella vicina Fullerton, gli affido` la sua invenzione: la Fender Stratocaster. Dall'idea di Dale e dal suono di quello strumento (e dall'unita` di riverbero costruita appositamente per lui) nacque lo stile classico della surf music. Dale ne divenne un virtuoso: la suonava con il picking frenetico del mandolino, la suonava capovolta a testa in giu`, la suonava con ogni sorta di effetti sonori. Fu lui a influenzare l'istrionismo di Jimi Hendrix (uno dei suoi fans, anche lui mancino e anche lui appassionato di amplificazione).
Con il passare degli anni Dale diventera` il re della musica strumentale, come dice il secondo album King Of The Surf Guitar (Capitol, 1963), raccogliendo idealmente il testimone da Link Wray e Duan Eddy. Mr Eliminator (Capitol, 1964) e Summer Surf (Capitol, 1964) furono gli ultimi album.

Nel 1965 si ritiro` dalle scene, disgustato dall'industria musicale e malato di cancro, ma riformo` i Del-tones nel 1970. King Of The Surf Guitar (Rhino, 1989) e` un'antologia dell'epoca d'oro.

Quando la mediorientale Miserlou (suo hit del 1962) venne usata nella colonna sonora di "Pulp Fiction", Dale venne riscoperto e pote` riprendere a registrare album. Tribal Thunder (Hightone, 1993) contiene almeno un numero spettacolare, Nitro. Uno spirito punk propelle le feroci versioni di Unknown Territory (Hightone, 1995), da Ghostriders In The Sky a California Sun. Calling Up Spirits (Beggars Banquet, 1996) rispolvera anche Mr Peppermint Man e The Wedge.

Dick Dale invented surf music, and that would be enough to guarantee his place in the history of music, but he also coined an influential guitar style, a style that wed the frantic pace of folk-rock, the sound effects of psychedelia and the fury of punk-rock years before any of these had been invented.
(Translated by Ornella C. Grannis)

In 1960, the first musician to put to music the excitement of surfing, Californians' favorite sport, was a guitar player from Los Angeles, Dick Dale. Richard Monsour, born in Lebanon, raised in Boston, owned of a record store in Huntington Beach. His instrumental Let's Go Trippin' was the great novelty hit of the summer of 1961. Dale's Del-tones served as the liaison between instrumental rock, surf music and garage rock (Surf Beat, Surfin' Drums, Shake' n' Stomp). Surfer' s Choice (Deltone, 1962) is the historical album of his debut. The songs were phenomenal, full of a nearly punk fury, driven by nearly psychedelic reverberation and emphasized by the red-hot sax solos of Steve Douglas.

Leo Fender, owner of a guitar store in the neighboring Fullerton, entrusted Dale with his invention, the Fender Stratocaster. Dale's ideas and the sound of the new instrument, with a reverb unit purposely built for it, gave birth to the classic style of surf music. Dale became a virtuoso of the Stratocaster: he played it with the frenetic picking of the mandolin, he played it upside down, he played it with all sorts of sound effects. He was the inspiration behind Jimi Hendrix's histrionics. Hendrix was one of Dale's fans, also a lefty and also passionate about amplification. With the passage of time Dale became the king of instrumental music, as confirmed by his second album King Of The Surf Guitar (Capitol, 1963). Link Wray and Duane Eddy were among his many disciples. Mr. Eliminator (Capitol, 1964) and Summer Surf (Capitol, 1964) were the last albums.

In 1965 Dale dropped from the scene, disgusted with the music industry and sick with cancer, but reformed the Del-tones in 1970. King Of The Surf Guitar (Rhino, 1989) is an anthology of the golden age.

When the Middle Eastern sounding Miserlou, his 1962 hit, was used as the soundtrack for "Pulp Fiction", Dale was rediscovered and began to record again. Tribal Thunder (Hightone, 1993) contains a spectacular number, Nitro. A punk spirit propels the ferocious performances in Unknown Territory (Hightone, 1995), from Ghostriders In The Sky to California Sun. Calling Up Spirits (Beggars Banquet, 1996) includes a couple of old songs, Mr Peppermint Man and The Wedge.

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