Review

THE "SLEEPWALK" GUITARS OF DAN & DALE / THE SENSATIONAL GUITARS OF DAN & DALE Batman And Robin

Album · 1966 · Exotica
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3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Now here’s a little oddity from the 60s in celebration of the life of the great Adam West who played the first BATMAN on the 60s campy tongue-in-cheek TV series. Due to the popularity of the series it seems that everyone was trying to make a buck off of it and this relic from 1966 was brought to life by a New Jersey toy company trying to get in on the action. After all everyone was getting a piece of this pie by latching on to that catchy theme song riff and and that famous na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na sing-along theme track. Amongst those copping a feel were Neal Hefti, The Who, The Kinks, Jan and Dean, Link Wray, Nelson Riddle, The Marketts, The Ventures, Bruce & The Robin Rockers, The “V” Rangers, The Revengers, Bob Kuban & The In-Men, Al Caiola & His Orchestra, The Standells and Sun Ra. Wait a minute? Whaaaat? SUN RA?

Yes! Sun Ra but only under the guise of THE SENSATIONAL GUITARS OF DAN & DALE which included Sun Ra himself along with members of his Arkestra. Together they teamed up Al Kooper’s Blues Project and created this album marketed towards children with catchy surf guitar rhythms based around themes on the BATMAN TV series and the album title being BATMAN AND ROBIN. Although anonymous on the album it is known that Sun Ra performed on the organ, along with his Arkestra mates John Gilmore and Marshall Allen on saxes, Jimmy Owens on trumpet and Tom McIntosh on trombone. From the Blues Project Steve Katz and Danny Kalb played guitars.

Since this was a money grab of sorts, the Tifton label taylor made for this project decided in order to keep licensing fees as well as royalties to a minimum, all the tracks except for the “Batman Theme” itself were based on whatever was in the public domain therefore everything from Chopin’s “Polaise Op. 53,” Tchaikovsky’s “Fifth Symphony” and the love theme from Romeo and Juliet were pirated and arranged into generic rock ’n roll and surf guitar riffs that sometimes sounded suspiciously too close to contemporary popular music icons like The Beatles (“The Riddler’s Retreat” comes a little too close to “She Loves You’s” signature melodic touches.) While most of the tracks are instrumental rock ’n roll jams, there are a couple tracks including the “Batman Theme” that have an uncredited vocalist who hits all the right notes so gracefully that i wish she were included on more of the tracks!

The whole incarnation known as DAN & DALE is a little murky as they released a whole slew of substandard releases and it’s unknown but rather dubious that either Sun Ra or Blues Project had anything to do with them. Don’t in anyway expect anything close to the extraterrestrial space jazz that Sun Ra & His Arkestra were churning out by the minute in the same time period of the 60s. This album was designed for kids and is nothing more than kitschy garage rock mixed with surf rock and space age pop albeit with some jazzy touches but what a fun little collection of numbers they churned out as the band takes bland and seemingly uninspired titles such as “Batman and Robin Over The Roofs” and add life to them with a tasteful masterful musicianship that adds a zest to the simple songs like only true professionals can.

While i wouldn’t call this a long lost masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, i can recommend this if you want to feel like you’ve fallen into an Austin Powers movie that simulates the era and in the midst of the groovy light shows in a smoked filled nightclub setting you can imagine this groovy music playing in the background while wild stoned-out hippie chicks are dancing the Watusi, the Hully Gully or just free floating across the dance floor! For a kids’ based album this one is real treat to listen to and one that has all the sweeter taste having the great Sun Ra & his Arkestra members involved.
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