When Paul Buff came up with a Mexican-sounding instrumental entitled "Tijuana Surf" at his Pal Studios in Cucamonga, California, he asked fellow Pal musician Frank Zappa to write a B-side. Zappa turned in the brilliant, fuzz-toned instrumental "Grunion Run," and Buff sold the recordings to Art Laboe's Original Sound label. The Hollywood Persuaders became Buff's performing name, but they were not a band! With very few exceptions, Paul Buff would play all the instruments.
When Original Sound released "Tijuana" in the summer of 1963, the record became a big regional success. In fact, the record was released twice: as "Tijuana Surf" by The Persuaders, and as "Tijuana" by The Hollywood Persuaders. "Tijuana" was released in Mexico and Argentina as by Los Persuaders and went on to spend 16 weeks at #1 in Mexico - even preventing The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" from reaching the top spot!
The success of "Tijuana" enabled Buff to create more Hollywood Persuaders recordings, and back royalties from the record also helped bail Frank Zappa out of jail after he was arrested in March 1965.
The following single "Persuasion"/ "Juarez" did not stir up the same kind of sales as "Tijuana", but Paul Buff was working on an idea which showcased drums in the arrangement. Buff's first attempt was entitled "Drums" and simply featured drums with his wife Allison's backing vocals. This version was released on an extremely rare promotional single with "Yes, I Want To Dance" as the B-side. Paul Buff went back and completely re-recorded the track with an extremely powerful drum presence, more instrumentation and a sax replacing Allison Buff's vocal. This version became "Drums A-Go-Go," and it was an even bigger local success. It also just missed hitting Billboard's singles chart, but it generated even more attention through cover versions by the likes of Sandy Nelson and Hal Blaine. The flipside of "Drums A-Go-Go" was "Agua Caliente (Hot Water)," another Mexican-styled instrumental. The belated Mexican success of "Tijuana" led to the release of a unique LP containing tracks from The Hollywood Persuaders, The Rotations and The Teen Beats. "Drums A-Go-Go" has become The Hollywood Persuaders' most recognizable song, and it was also included in the film "Natural Born Killers."
In the late spring of 1965, Art Laboe of Original Sound gave Paul Buff the go-ahead to do a "Drums A-Go-Go" album. It was released in August 1965. Aside from the title track and a new mix of "Tijuana," the album included reworkings of "Persuasion" as well as The Bongo Teens' tracks "Last Night" and "Forget It." Buff did some more recordings by himself and called in fellow Original Sound artist Adam Saylor's backing band (Brian Blanchard, Bob Husband and Mike Martin) to do the tracks "Eve Of Destruction," "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Hollywood A-Go-Go." The third song by this lineup was backed by the first song for The Hollywood Persuaders' final single.
Paul Buff went on to do the Original Sound-released solo single "She's Got A 60 Cycle Brain"/ "Cause I Love You" and many tracks with Allison Buff as The Buff Organization. These tracks are available as part of Paul Buff's 20-volume Pal Studio/Original Sound series. Buff also engineered many recordings by other artists at Original Sound Studios, including The Music Machine, The Strawberry Alarm Clock and Sugarloaf, to name just three.
The Hollywood Persuaders released just five singles (including a promo-only release) between 1963 and 1965, but the original single mixes had never appeared in digital form (from the original master tapes) until the 2010 download release. In addition to both sides of Paul Buff’s solo single “Slow Bird”/ “Blind Man’s Buff,” there are many unreleased tracks: two versions of “Evil Underneath,” a demo version of “Drums A-Go-Go,” “Go-Go Music,” “Organ Stomp,” “Cruisin’,” a demo version of “Agua Caliente (Hot Water),” “Rollin’,” and “Something Else,” which only exists on an acetate. Another rarity is the Mexican album version of “Yes, I Want To Dance,” and you even get a countoff before Frank Zappa’s “Grunion Run”!
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