Dick Dale & His Del-Tones / Dick Dale

Mr. Eliminator

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In the early '60s, Capitol Records was having nearly as much success selling hot rod records to teenagers as they were with surf music, and given their good fortune in persuading the Beach Boys to cut some tunes about the joys of fast cars, it came to the surprise of no one that producer Gary Usher, the man behind the Super Stocks, was teamed up with surf guitar legend Dick Dale to cut an album. Released in 1964, Mr. Eliminator features Dale accompanied by Usher's usual team of session pros, including Glen Campbell and Jerry Cole on guitars, Plas Johnson on sax, Bruce Johnston on keyboards, and Earl Palmer behind the drums. With a band like that, you might wonder if there was any room left for Dick Dale, and on the vocal cuts he does sound a bit like an afterthought on his own album, though Dale gives his all as he belts out "50 Miles to Go" and "My X-KE," and tries hard on the lost cause that is "The Squirrel." But when Dale gets to crank up his guitar and let loose on instrumental numbers like "Flashing Eyes," "Taco Wagon," and the title cut, Mr. Eliminator really blasts off -- these are the tunes where Dick Dale gets to be Dick Dale, and even with the greatest band in Hollywood backing him up, he steals the show with his supercharged barrage of notes.

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