The Fantastic Baggys

Although packaged and promoted as a bona fide group, the Fantastic Baggys were actually an L.A. studio project by the duo of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. Sloan and Barri wrote many first-rate (and second-rate) pop/rock and folk-rock tunes in the mid-'60s, but were at this point, as evidenced by the name of the group, doing surf and hot rod material. The similarity of the Fantastic Baggys material to Jan & Dean in particular should come as no surprise, since Sloan and Barri not only wrote some songs for Jan and Dean, but also did some vocals on Jan & Dean records of the era. The Fantastic Baggys did one album for Imperial in 1964, Tell 'Em I'm Surfin', as well as three singles in 1964 and 1965 (which included three non-LP songs); there were also a couple of Fantastic Baggys albums issued in South Africa. (Although there were four Fantastic Baggys pictured on the sleeve of Tell 'Em I'm Surfin', the two other guys were just friends who were not on the records.) The album, in both songwriting and performance, was a pretty close but ultimately derivative and inferior facsimile of circa 1964 Jan & Dean and (more distantly) Beach Boys records. The Fantastic Baggys stopped making records in 1965, when the surf fad faded and Sloan and Barri were more interested in writing and singing more serious and sophisticated material. ~ Richie Unterberger

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