Author John Blair
is both a noted Surf Music Historian and an accomplished surf guitarist.
His band Jon & The Nightriders
were the earliest surf revival band, formed in 1979 for
some living room recordings later issued on an impossibly rare 7" ep. John's written many liner
notes, has compiled CD's, has published articles and contributed reviews to numerous collectors mags
The Illustrated Discography Of Surf Music
is a fascinating read for the collector, and frustrating
too. I've been collecting surf since '61, and there's still so much in John's book I've never heard
or seen. You'll find the familiar and the obscure ...mostly obscure. Many surf discs were issued by
the bands themselves in small quantities (500 or less) & sold or given away to friends & fans.
Most never made it to stores or radio.
John's book includes the full spectrum of surf, from the real hard core instrumentals to the vocal
studio creations. This printing is a limited edition of 1250 in hard cover. Prior issues were soft
cover, and about half as thick. The forward is from Dick Dale
, who tells his version of his
place in the sun. His tale stretches things less here than the last few interviews I've done or read.
John provides a pretty good picture of the evolution of the sound. He includes the definitions and
categories he used in compiling the book, and they make interesting fodder for parlor debate. John's
view is historically valid and complete, covering the entire spectrum, from the real thing all the
way out to the pale imitations like Lawrence Welk's "Pipeline
." I recommend this
John first published this book back in 1978, with a 2nd edition was in 1983 and a hardback "revised
2nd edition" in 1985. This marvelous book is primarily a catalog of American Surf Music recordings
released between 1961 & 1965. It's punctuated with brief bios, band line-ups, rumors about the
records and session players, photos of bands, and pictures of labels.