Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Have you ever heard of a surf instrumental group known as the Fantoms?

No one is a bigger fan of '60s surf-style instrumentals than me, but here's one band I don't recall. I only learned of them from a friend who says I should check them out.

Unfortunately, none of the music shops near me have ever heard of the Fantoms either. If anyone knows, it will likely be your good self.
—Gene Wilkerson, Chelmesford, Mass.

DEAR GENE: After a bit of sleuthing around, I turned up one CD album that I believe you will want, but the band is the Fathoms, not the Fantoms.

Titled "Fathomless" (Atomic Beat CD 7002), it consists of 17 newly recorded surf tunes, most of which deserve the praise bestowed them by your friend.

There is also a noteworthy Massachusettes connection here. The tracks were recorded at the Comfort Zone, in Newton, and the Fathoms themselves: Frank Blandino; Greg Burgess; Stan Kozlowski; Dave Sholl; and Johnny Sciascia, were last known to be based in Reading, Mass.

DEAR JERRY: What is meant when an album is described as being "self-titled"?

I have long heard the term used on the radio, and seen it many times in print. Still, no one has bothered to explain what they really meant, as though they assume everyone listening or reading will understand.

Literally, it would seem to indicate that the album's title was chosen by the artist. But that's not likely since this would seem quite uneventful and hardly worthy of note.

Please clear this up for me.
—William J. Lawrie, Elgin, Ill.

DEAR WILLIAM: A self-titled album is one with a title identical the artist's name. To offer some examples I'll list some of the most popular self-titled albums of all time, along with their release years: "The Kingston Trio" (1958); "Peter, Paul & Mary" (1962); "Chicago Transit Authority" (1969); "Van Halen" (1978); "Madonna" (1984); "Boston" (1976); "Elvis Presley" (1956); "The Beatles" (1968); "Whitney Houston" (1985); and "Aerosmith" (1973).

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