Here's another great and rare Dick Jensen record from my collection that I'm particularly proud to offer here for anyone interested!
Dick Jensen was a live musical performer of the Rhythm and Blues, Soul, and Gospel genres; a native Hawaiian athletic song stylist and a prime mover of nightclub shows. For a more detailed biography about him, I suggest that you have a look at this other post available here on Stereo Candies.
Born Richard Hiram Jensen in 1942, he first became interested in music through the numerous luaus his family would attend. When the family was back from the barbecue, his mother would often play the guitar and Dick, along with his five brothers and sisters, would sing, and play along on the ukulele, or a nearby spoon and ladle, or whatever might be handy. His first experience on stage was in the fourth grade when he put together a group for a teacher's show.
Dick continued to sing through his formative years and began to gain a local reputation. While he was at Honolulu's Farrington High School, he entered a local talent contest, winning first place, and adopted the stage name of Lance Curtis at the suggestion of Tom Moffatt and Earl Finch, both active as promoters in the local Hawaii scene; the name was choosen for its illusory Hollywoodian qualities.
The award gained Jensen a spot on one of Hawaii's major television shows and led to his first single recording Bye Bye Baby / Lover's Paradise published by Teen Records in 1959. Sympathy / Leahi, another single credited to Lance Curtis & The Uniques, was released on the same label the following year; "Leahi" is the first Hawaiian song ever recorded with a rock beat.
In 1960 Jensen graduated from Farrington and forgot his music momentarily, as he began to pursue a career in athletics. After winning Hawaii's "Athlete of the Year" award, he accepted a swimming scholarship to the University of Washington. While at the Seattle campus he began to get together a group during spare time.
In the meantime, The Uniques released two instrumental singles: (Ghost) Riders in the Sky / Taboo on Amber Records and Renegade / Malaguena on United Southern Artists, Inc. in the U.S.A. and Strand Records in Australia; both of them were released in 1961, it is unclear if Jensen was involved in their making or not...
When Jensen returned to Hawaii in 1963, he re-estabilished his career ambition as a singer. At the time he appeared in shows at the now-defunct Civic Auditorium on King Street, fronting dance bands during a lively period in the Honolulu entertainment scene; more into rock now, he also began to perform on the Waikiki Strip. His reputation grew, enough so that some enterprising publicist named him the Islands "King of Swing".
During the same year he appeared on two releases: a split single offering Jensen's Doin' the Tamure on side A and Tom Moffatt's Surfin' In Hawaii on the flip side, released on Moffatt's own Mahalo Records, and another single on Amber Records credited to Dick Jensen & The Swamp Men (...a name probably inspired by Da Swamp club in Waikiki...) which is the subject of this post.
Dick Jensen, circa 1965-66
Here's the track list for this split 7" single:
01. Waikiki Rumble (1:49)
02. Swamped (1:59)
Both tracks were remastered in February 2014 and are available in FLAC lossless format or high-quality 320 Kbps MP3 files; both formats include scans of the complete original artwork.
Please have a look at the comments for the download links.
The single offers two instrumental tracks for which Jensen gets the writing credits on the labels. Due to his involvement in the making of this record - which doesn't include any vocals, except some shouting on Side A - I am inclined to think that also the two instrumental singles credited to The Uniques (...his backing band during his Lance Curtis period...) released in 1961 probably featured him on guitar.
"Waikiki Rumble" is a strong track which features reverbered guitars and other Surf / Garage elements scattered here and there. The flip side "Swamped" is a more simple Rock'n'Roll number, but anyway... Cool stuff!
The following videos offer a preview of the remastered single, have fun!
More information about Dick Jensen is available here:
I'm currently compiling a Dick Jensen biography, the first part of this work-in-progress covers the period 1942-1972 and is available here.
I'm also trying to compile a Dick Jensen exhaustive discography, my work-in-progress is available here.
Last but not least, I'm also trying to build a collection of Dick Jensen pictures and memorabilia, my work-in-progress is available here.
All my posts dedicated to Dick Jensen on this blog are available here.
I will post more Dick Jensen stuff in the next months, if you have any other useful information about him and his releases or if you spot any dead links, just get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!