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Now And Then

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Album Review

A mountainous collection, Now and Then is the aptly titled story of a band that has been kicking around since the early '60s, and that still sounds as vital today as it did back then. No less than 29 tracks take the group from a clutch of tracks recorded back in 1962 — "Bustin' Surfboards," "Beyond the Surf," and both sides of the remarkable "The Gremmie" single — into a handful of similarly themed sessions with engineer Frank Zappa and on to the twin delights of 1964's "Phantom Surfer"/"Shootin' Beavers" single. Now and Then cuts from there, as did the band, to the mid-'90s and the Tornadoes' dramatic return to action: five previously released live cuts from 1995 lead up to Bustin' Surfboards '98, and further live and unreleased studio recordings bring the story up to 2005. All of which adds up to an album that could have been recorded at any time in the past 40 years, and isn't ashamed to admit it; "Old Surfer Blues," from 1997, is one of the funniest teenaged laments you've ever heard an older man sing, while the band's grip on classic rock & roll material (a Presley medley, "Yakkety Yak") reveals a versatility that makes a mockery of the band's reputation as single-minded surfers. The album's refusal to offer more than a passing nod to chronology does dent the listening pleasure a little — the classic '60s material, for example, is stuck smack in the center, while the 1997 album peels out on either side of it. But when that's the biggest complaint one can come up with, you know you're in the presence of greatness.


Formed: 1962 in Redlands, CA

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '60s, '90s

Not to be confused with the British studio group that gave the world the Joe Meek-produced instrumental "Telstar," or the Midwest group that recorded "Scalping Party" on Cuca, or the Kennewick, Washington combo of the same name, this group of Tornadoes burst onto the national scene with one of the very first surf instrumentals, "Bustin' Surfboards," in 1962. A family band, the Tornadoes' lineup consisted of two brothers (Gerald and Norman Sanders), their cousin Jesse Sanders, and a friend, Leonard...
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Now And Then, The Tornadoes
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