Various: This Is Skateboard Music

This is Skateboard Music: Compilation

Various: This Is Skateboard Music
Label: Diggler
Release Date: 10/08/2006
Review Date: 4/3/06

The era of the variety-show type media crossover seems to be truly dead. You don’t see to many actors trying to sing. OK, there have been a few rapping basketball players, but be thankful that the heyday of the novelty song has mostly passed us by and we didn’t have to listen to a slew of rollerblading songs. This Is Skateboard Music is a compilation of Skateboard-themed music from the latter half of the 70’s. perhaps more aptly titled “This was Skateboard Music.” 14 songs by 11 different artists. Yes, some bands made more than one song, some even made whole albums devoted to skateboarding! Most of the bands appear to be products of the studio only, some producer’s plot to make a quick buck off a current fad. The track listing on this compilation is funny enough. Nine of the songs are a two word formula consisting of “Skateboard” and a word of your choice, usually having something to do with dancing or girls. The others are subtle variations, and only the song “Blue Tile Fever” omits the word “skateboard”.

Musically, there are a lot of styles represented surprisingly. The Carvells’ “Skateboard Racer” sounds like an outtake from one of the MC5’s more commercial efforts. There is plenty of generic bad disco such as “Skateboard Boogie”, a competent Ohio Players funk impersonation by Zafra on “Skateboard Shuffle”, and some orchestrated AM gold on “Little Skateboard Queen”. Jack Templeton turns in the most depressing sounding skateboard song ever in “Skateboard Johnny”. The lyrics are carefree but the music is really melancholy, His delivery is hilarious at times, almost choking on the words ” I’m free to be and it ain’t no crime. I can turn this rig, three times on a dime.” Ironically, if you can filter out the through all the cornography, it’s a pretty good distillation of the joys of skateboarding. The Carvells chime in agan with “Skateboard Queen”, this time sounding more like a Beach Boys. Go figure. “Skateboard Saturday” could be classic mid 70’s power pop. It starts off glorifying skateboarding in a forgettable way until tradgedy strikes half way through with “No more skateboarding, at least for another week. Because it’s dangerous to skateboard in the street! It’s at the park so we can all be safe. Stop the accidents, it’s all such a waste.” Hilarious, especially with the dramatic delivery. Thankfully, advice is given in the form of “Not everyone belongs to an organized skateboard team, where they can learn to ride and look after their machine. So don’t hesitate, and join right away! Or wait for a Skateboard Saturday!” Truly words to live by. Take a moment to re-read and memorize them. Of course nothing goes with pop music from yesteryear like statutory rape. Sneakers & Lace leads the charge with an uncomfortable song about a 17 year old hottie in “Little Skateboard Queen” while an artist without a cartoon voice who is curiously named Daffy Duck invites his girl on a “Skateboard Honeymoon” as the backup singers croon “Long Weekend”. Surfer Corky Caroll chips in with a country music meets Jan and Dean “Skateboard Bill”. And the backup singers go “Skate. Skate-skate, Skate! Skate-skate, Skate! ” Sneakers & Lace turns in their third genre change with the Beach Boys clone “Skateboardin’ USA”. Man, that’s an album I gotta hear. Not to be outdone, Rival manages to rhyme “It sure is OK” with “Skateboarding in the UK” in a song of the same title. Speaking of… I can’t believe this wasn’t the title track for the UK documentary “Rollin’ through the Decades”. The only credible artist on the compilation is T.Rex. with his song “Skateboard” that appears in demo form at the end. Amazingly, this track may only be available on This is Skateboard Music.

So the appeal of this compilation is strictly camp. But it’s actually highly listenable. The sound quality varies from track to track. Some are clear, but some appear to have been transferred and cleaned up from vinyl. None of them are un-listenable, well at least not from a sound quality standpoint. Diggler records appears to be mostly about re-releasing hard to find period music. The jacket of This is Skateboard Music is artfully designed like the rest of their catalogue appears to be. It seems to me if you are going to go through the trouble of tracking down the rights and re-mastering and re-releasing something you should have a little background on each song, along the lines of the Rhino D.I.Y. compilations. Unfortunately, the liner notes are minimal and mostly illegible because they are printed over the top of a photograph. One thing you will learn is that there were over 80 skateboard songs released in a decade. This compilation features 70’s music only and begs the release of a boxed set spanning the decades, from the 60’s to 80’s skate rock. Until then, you’ll have to make due with the highly enjoyable This is Skateboard Music, which is sure to make any session memorable if only for the confused and varied reactions it will surely elicit.

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