Zappa fans, you may have just hit the mother load. Read on for the announcement: Crossfire Publications is in the process of releasing a 20-volume series of recordings from the pre-Mothers era, with many unreleased tracks featured. The most notable releases in the series come from Paul Buff, owner of Pal Studios in Cucamonga, California from 1957-1964.
The initial six releases took place in March: The Bongo Teens' "Surfin' Bongos" (mono and stereo), The Hollywood Persuaders' "Drums A-Go-Go" (mono and stereo) and "Singles &Rarities," and "Raw Tracks" featuring both groups. The Bongo Teens featured Buff and fellow Pal associate Dave Aerni (lead guitar), while Buff played nearly all the instruments on the Hollywood Persuaders releases.
Crossfire's mammoth series is called "Paul Buff Presents The Pal And Original Sound Studio Archives." At Pal, Buff recorded numerous artists, with The Surfaris' "Wipe Out" as the studio's most known recording. Many other notable artists, including the late Frank Zappa, recorded their earliest work at Pal Studios.
"Paul Buff Presents The Pal And Original Sound Studio Archives" will have many highly prized rarities and unreleased tracks drawn from Paul Buff's mixdown tapes and reference discs. The original records represented in the series literally cost hundreds of dollars apiece, reflecting the impressive historical and musical value of Crossfire's series.
When the studio was not booked for artists on Buff's record labels (Pal, Emmy, Yukon, Plaza and Vigah!), a rotating crew of musicians, The Pal Studio Band, regularly laid down tracks with the hope of placing them with major record labels. The band featured regular appearances by young guitarist Frank Zappa, who learned recording studio operations from Paul Buff.
Records cut by Buff and guitarist Ronnie Williams were issued on Buff's in-house Emmy label as by The Masters, with one track ("Breaktime") featuring overdubbed guitars by Zappa and Williams. Other releases with Zappa involvement from this period include The Penguins, The Hollywood Persuaders, The Tornadoes, Ron Roman, Baby Ray And The Ferns, Brian Lord &The Midnighters, Mr. Clean, The Heartbreakers, Ned And Nelda, Bob Guy, Conrad And The Hurricane Strings, The Cordells, The Rhythm Surfers and Johnny Barakat And The Vestells. Over a half dozen unreleased titles with Zappa as part of The Pal Studio Band will be covered in the series along with the aforementioned singles.
Concurrent with his Pal activities, Paul Buff started working with Art Laboe, owner of Original Sound Records. After the sale of Pal Studios to Frank Zappa in August 1964, Buff became Original Sound's studio engineer. Besides recording many Original Sound artists, Buff made his own recordings for the label. This output started in 1963 as The Hollywood Persuaders, followed by The Bongo Teens, The Rotations, The Midnighters, Mr. Clean, The Catalinas, Lori Allison, The Buff Organization, The Friendly Torpedoes (with The Music Machine's Sean Bonniwell) and Ricky Dean. Non-Original Sound clients, such as the entire output of the All-American label (known for Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense And Peppermints") as well as Sugarloaf ("Green Eyed Lady"), were engineered by Buff.
Three volumes in the Pal/Original Sound series have been released thus far. All in all, 35 albums from Paul Buff's collection will be represented. In addition to the 20 Pal/Original Sound volumes and the six previously released Bongo Teens and Hollywood Persuaders titles, the following will be released: "Singles &Rarities" by The Masters, five albums of unreleased late '60s tracks by The Buff Organization, a 25-track collection of cuts from Dave Aerni's labels, and two volumes of big band recordings ("Paul Buff Presents Pal Studios' Early Years").
Releases will take place every other week for most of 2010. All of these Crossfire albums will be available through dozens of paid download services. Licensing inquiries for CD release are also being entertained.