First off, this album is not available Nation Wide, but was a limited release to celebrate what would have been Jan & Dean's 50th year as chart hitting super-stars! This review is going to concentrate on the CD album mostly, as the almost all content on the DVD has been issued elsewhere before (Surf Scene, Redigo, Dean Torrence interview). What we have here is a 28 (29 if you include the Ride The Wild Surf sessions) track compilation. There are a number of things that make it unique to Jan & Dean compilations. Firstly, the sound quality is just outstanding. You'll be thinking that these are all newly recorded tracks, as they sound so clean and fresh. Never has "It's A Good Night For Dreaming" sounded so clean and contemporary, or "It Ain't Me Babe" sounded so utterly sensational.
So, the album kicks off with the first seven tracks all available elsewhere, however, as mentioned they sound much better than you have ever heard them before. Then comes the first big deal-breaker, "When Summer Comes", and acetate released here for the first time. Not sounding too different from other acetates of the same song, the sound quality just blows you away. Then, adjoined to the song is "Ride The Wild Surf" sessions. More than worth the price of admission, the sessions are an eye-opener to the making of one of the greatest records ever. If these sessions don't impress you and show you how talented Jan Berry was, then nothing on Earth will.
"Surfin' Wild" sounds as brilliant as ever and then there's the alternate version of "Little Old Lady" which can be found on the "All The Hits From Surf City To Drag City" double CD compilation. It sounds like the same version (with the added chorus), even down to the mix as heard on that CD set, but it still a welcome addition to the compilation.
Skipping to track 13, the "Horace" sessions sound like a whole heap of fun, and this is the first time I have heard these particular sessions. "Music City", "You Really Know How To Hurt A Guy (instrumental)" and "It Ain't Me Babe" are followed by the cleanest sounding studio version of "Yesterday" that I have ever heard the boys perform. The track is brilliant, if not the best version of the song. It’s nicely followed by the now familiar version of "Everyone’s Gone To The Moon", which again sounds superb.
Tracks 19 to 22 bring us known tracks, plus unreleased versions of "Hang On Sloopy", "Boys Down At The Plant" and "Batman & Robin Vs The Penguin". These are a great addition to the bootleg album "Filet Of Soul Original Mix", but compared to that bootleg, the sound on these babies is brilliant. The material on the other hand is typical bizarre humour from Jan & Dean, worth a listen once, but other than that only worth it for curiosity value.
The mix of "Louisiana Man" used is simply breath taking. If the upcoming version of "Carnival Of Sound" features songs of this quality then it's going to be a huge success. "Louisiana Man" is one of the strongest tracks on the end of the album, though of course the haunting "Mother Earth" and the should-have-been-single "Ocean Park Angel" are also on the compilation rounding off one great listen.
Just for the rarities on the album this album is easily a 4/5 in my ratings.