CD “On The Blue Road” arrives…
By Blurt Staff
Merrell Fankhauser is considered one of the main innovators of surf music and psychedelic folk rock, and is widely known as the leader of the instrumental surf group The Impacts who had the international hit “Wipeout”. His travels from Hollywood to his 15 year jungle experience on the island of Maui have been documented in numerous music books and magazines in the US and Europe. Merrell has gained legendary international status throughout the field of rock music; his credits include over 300 songs published and released. Merrell Fankhauser has presented a number of television programs over the years including ‘California Music’, ‘Route 66 TV Live’, and in 2001 he began hosting a music show called ‘Tiki Lounge’ that airs on the California Central Coast, Southern California, Hawaii and parts of the East Coast.
In the early ’90s Merrell teamed up with Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy, which eventually led to the Fankhauser Cassidy Band.
Says Merrell about Cassidy, “We started on the first one I think in 1994 and he and I were friends for years. We met back in 1969 in passing back stage at a concert but never really had a conversation. Then we bumped into each other again around 1990 and the band Spirit was kind of in a lull then, and he said, “Hey we ought to do some recording together.” At the time I was doing a national satellite TV show called California Music and so I had him on that show and then Randy California said, ‘Oh I’d like to be on that show’, so I interviewed Randy and then I ended up jamming with them all. And then Cass decided he wanted to move further out of the Los Angeles area and he moved up here to the central coast, and I helped find him a house not even a mile from my house, so it was perfect and he wanted to do something blues oriented. So I started writing a bunch of tunes and then we did some classic covers of songs like ‘High Heel Sneakers’ and the Muddy Waters song ‘Going Down To Louisiana’ and ‘Walking The Dog’, and then I wrote a bunch of songs that were in a similar vein that was perfect for me to play slide on. I loved it.
“I think in about four-and-a-half/five months we cranked out the first album, ‘On the Blue Road’ and my son Tim was singing and playing on a few tunes and we had a regular bass player Leroy Richards at the time who did all of the bass. So we finished that first album and I sent it to Alligator Records in Chicago and they loved it, but they were full up with releases and I made a deal with D-Town Records from Detroit at the time, and they put out groups like the Ohio Players and Lee Rogers, and even one on the football player Rosey Greer. And they loved it and released the CD and and it started getting a lot of airplay all over the place, even in Australia. Then it was nominated for a Memphis Blues Award which surprised me. We didn’t win but it was just great to do the nomination!”
In closing Merrell had this to say about Cassidy, “Cass was my musical guru, to be able to play drums the way he did into his late ’80s was amazing! I miss his drumming and also his wit and wisdom…we were close friends for nearly 25 years until his passing a year ago. I think this release is a fine tribute to him.”
Tracks: Disc 1-1. Further On Up The Road 2. 32/20 Blues 3. Bright Lights Big City 4. Excited (M. Fankhauser) 5. Walking The Dog 6. Louisana Blues 7. High Heel Sneakers 8. Tale Of Misty Mountain (M. Fankhauser) 9. Possession over Judgment Day 10. On The Blue Road (M.Fankhauser)11. Nickys Song (M.Fankhauser) 12. Psychedelic Dreams (M. Fankhauser) , , Disc 2- 1. Hot Night In Louisville (M.Fankhauser) 2. Milk Cow Blues 3. Who Shout The Lightnin (M.Fankhauser) 4.Goin Back To Delta(M. Fankhauser) 5.Stolen Guitar Blues (M.Fankhauser & E.Cassidy) 6. Brian Berry Blues (M.Fankhauser & E.Cassidy) 7. Cosmic Lady (M.Fankhauser & T. Fankhauser) 8. Voodoo In The Jungle (M.Fankhauser) 9. Cassidys Big Beat (E.Cassidy) 10. Long Rifle ( T. Fankhauser) 11. Papa Told Me (Larry Willey) 12.Ed Cassidy Interview.