Artists | Issues | CD Reviews | Interviews | Concert Reviews | DVD/Video Reviews | Book Reviews | Who We Are | Staff | Home

Various Artists

Destination Beach: 30 Tunes for Dancing in the Sand

Review by Gary Hill

With summer time upon us, this collection from Bear Family seems appropriate. Personally, I'm not a fan of warm weather, but for those who love the sun, heat and sandy beaches, this should resonate well. I have to say that musically this one doesn't work for me personally as well as some of the other collections from the label do. That said, I really enjoy the surf music pieces, and some of the jazzier ones. Depending on your musical tastes, you will probably find that some of this hits better for  you. Either way, it's an interesting topical collection of 1950s and 60s music.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2023  Volume 3 More information and purchase links can be found at:

Track by Track Review
Freddy Cannon - June, July And August
There is a real Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis vibe to this. The cut is energized and fun. It has some great piano and wailing saxophone.
The Fendermen - Beach Party
This instrumental has a surf and drag vibe to it. It's a fun romp.      
The Hi-Lites feat. Randy Hard - Beach Baby
Here we get a doo wop number. I'm not really a fan of that style of music, so this doesn't work that well for me. Your mileage may vary. I do like the saxophone solo section quite a bit.             
Scotty McKay - Sea Cruise
This bouncy old school rocker feels a little on the pop music (of the time) side. It's not bad, but it's a little too vanilla.
Bobby Darin - Beachcomber
The strings on this are a little on the precious side, but the tune has a cool groove to it. This instrumental works pretty well.
The Marcels - Footprints In The Sand
More of a doo wop tune, this one is another that misses it for me. That said, the instrumental arrangement has some cool aspects to it.  
The Rays - Souvenirs Of Summertime
Now this has even more of that doo wop thing. It's very vanilla and is definitely not my kind of thing. There is a real barbershop quartet angle to it.
The Cornells - Beachbound
Now, here we get another surf guitar styled tune. I like this instrumental better than the previous one, and it's actually one of my favorite tunes here. Then again, I've always had a soft spot for surf guitar music.
Al Barkle - Muscle Beach
This is a bouncy little tune. The overly high pitched vocals and some of the other elements make it feel like a novelty song. It's fun, though. The instrumental section later really rocks.
Owen Gray - On The Beach
There is more of a jazz groove to this cut. It has an island vibe to it, too. I dig the horn blowing on the song a lot, and the whole song just works so well. This is one of my favorites here. The instrumental section really swings. It also lets those jazz elements really shine.
Wayne Hollers - Dance In The Sand
A grooving old-school-rock-and-roll-meets-contemporary-pop tune, this is entertaining. It has a great groove to it.
The Pentagons - Down At The Beach
The honking horn is a nice touch. This is a solid rock and roller that works pretty well. While not a standout for me, this works better than some of the others do.           
The Rockin' Rs - Heat
This instrumental tune really is hot. It has some scorching saxophone and an almost proto-punk sound. It's another highlight of the disc for me. 
Paul Peek - Waikiki Beach
Here we get more of a bouncy rock and roll groove. The horns work well, and this number is just a lot of fun.    
Jimmy Simms & The Thunderbirds - Twistin' On The Beach
I really love the guitar work on this tune. The whole number rocks and rolls with style, but that instrumental break is on fire.
The Duals - Beach Party
This instrumental falls more or less in the surf guitar zone, but not as firmly as a few other tunes. Still, the guitar jamming is great, and I really like this number a lot.
The Danleers - One Summer Night
Pretty much a doo wop ballad, this isn't bad, but it's not really my kind of thing.
Frankie Avalon - Summer Scene
This is so much fun. It's a killer jazz groove with a crooner vocal. It's one of my favorites here. 
The Valiants with Sandy Vale - Boppin' On The Beach
Featuring ukulele, this is a fun little romp.
The Surfers - The Sand And The Sea
A mellow number, this has a good multi-layer vocal arrangement. The music is acoustic guitar based.    
The Dunes - Lonely Sands
This instrumental features a lot of piano, and is very cool. It would be probably a decade before progressive rock would exist, but this almost feels like it would fit under that category.
Bill Courtney - Blanket On The Beach
Here we get another bouncy sort of 50s-styled pop music. It's more of a crooner tune. The arrangement is a little over-done for my tastes, but it's not a bad song at all.       
Bobby Vee - Summertime Blues
This version of the classic rock and roller works well.
Link Wray & His Wraymen - Summer Dream
Here we get another surf guitar tune. I love the echoey sound on the guitar. The whole instrumental piece really swings so well, though.         
Buddy Skipper & The Jetty Jumpers - Back On The Beach Again
A bouncy old-school rock and roller this is a good time. I really like the vocal performance, and the guitar riffing is great. 
Linda Leigh - Lover's Beach (Concerto For The X-15)
The strings on this are rather over the top. This cut is a ballad that is definitely a product of its time. While it's not my thing, I can appreciate it.
Big Al Sears - In The Good Old Summertime
Bouncy jazz stylings are in the driver's seat here. I like the groove on this, but I'm not completely enamored with the vocals. Still, this brings variety and the instrumental section really works so well.
Freddie Mitchell & His Rockers - Seaweed
The horns really blow some sweet sounds on this classy instrumental piece. This is another standout. It's a slow moving tune just packed with style and charm.
The Drifters - Moonlight Bay
Jazz and gospel music seem to merge on this number. It's one that misses it for me.          
Ray Doggett - Beach Party
The vocals on this seem to deliver some of that gospel angle, too. The music is more of the rock and roll variety, so that manages to elevate this a bit. Still, I think the disc would end a little stronger if these last two songs had come earlier in the track order.

   Creative Commons License
   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

    © 2024 Music Street Journal                                                                           Site design and programming by Studio Fyra, Inc./