Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Belairs - South Bay Surf Band Reunion 1986dotdotdotdot
artworkPaul Johnson put on the first South Bay Surf Band Reunion in Torrence on October 25th, 1986. The Belairs first lineup performing here is Paul Johnson - guitar, Eddie Bertrand - guitar, Dick Dodd - drums, and Chas Stewart - sax. The second lineup here is Paul Johnson - guitar, Art Fisher - guitar, Guy Hufford - bass, Tiny Snyder - drums, and Chas Stewart - sax. While neither lineup is exact, both feature the main players and reproduced the sound and style of the original bands.
Picks: It Was I, Kamikaze, Teen Angel, (Un Classe De) Chiflado, Ballad Of Davy Crockett / Theme From "Mickey Mouse Club", Endless Sleep, The Crawler / Moon Dawg, The Wayward Wind, Lanky Bones, It's Gonna Work Out Fine, Vamonos, Duck Waddle, Squad Car, Birdland

Track by Track Review

It Was I dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Introduced by Teisco Del Rey, this is a rousing performance of Skip & Flip's hit, with the words deleted in favor of Eddie Bertrand's lead and Paul Johnson's rhythm. While the choice of tunes may be a bit hokey, you must remember that they were playing to their high school contemporaries, and were heavily influenced by the top forty charts of KRLA 1110, KFWB 980, and KHJ 930, with which they were growing up. It's really quite infectious.

Kamikaze dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Kamikaze" is a rousing rhythmic number, driven by the chunk of the rhythm guitar in sync with the drums. Chas' sax is pretty cool. Eddie Bertrand hold the tone in the pocket, and plays really well,m as does Dickie Dodd.

Teen Angel dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Belairs "had a penchant for teen tragedies" (Paul Johnson). This is a way-cool instrumental treatment of the Mark Dinning hit. The raw tone and the delicate playing are just too cool.

(Un Classe De) Chiflado dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Chiflado" means "some kinda nut" according to Paul. This is a splendid performance of this early Belairs number. Eddie Bertrand's string bending is very cool, and Chas Stewart's sax is just mean enough, a particularly lofty feat given the 20 years since he'd played. Chunky and raw.

Ballad Of Davy Crockett / Theme From "Mickey Mouse Club" dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This was in their set back in the golden days. It was worked up for Dickie Dodd, who had been a Mouseketeer, and was later to drum for the Standells. It's just too fun to hear these two childhood faves worked up for an instro band. The whole this just plain makes you grin.

Endless Sleep dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another teen tragedy masterpiece, Jody Reynolds' classic hit "Endless Sleep" comes from the heart, opening with Dickie Dodd's dramatic drums, then on to Paul Johnson's big chords, and finally Eddie Bertrand's lead work. It's so grodie, completely at odds with the fluid Al Casey tone of the original, and Chas Stewart's sax is likewise more honestly dirty than Steve Douglas' rasp. Excellent.

The Crawler / Moon Dawg dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's "The Crawler" is segued ingeniously into the Gamblers' "Moon Dawg" with raw energy. This was among the highlights of the show. The grodie "Crawler" plunders along at a moderate pace with Eddie Bertrand's great string bending, before it's acceleration into the power chord menace of Derry Weaver's "Moon Dawg." Dickie Dodd's drums drive this home with a vengeance. Teisco Del Rey still points to this performance as the best of the show. Here here!

The Wayward Wind dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Never would you imagine Gogi Grant's hit could be so enticing until Eddie Bertrand and Paul Johnson got a hold of it. It's just plain cool.

Lanky Bones dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This tune remains a staple of Paul Johnson's modern band. It's a rhythmic infectious riff with a really cool break that drops right back into the intro chord before re-launching the melody. Damn fine tune.

It's Gonna Work Out Fine dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ike & Tina Turner's most amazing hit, played with amazing drive and chunk. It's sans the vibrato of the hit, and Art Fisher's guitar replaces Tina's vocals. It works really well.

Vamonos dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like the title implies, "Vamonos" hurries right along with infectious Mexican flair and rhythmic appeal. It's a very fun track, well played and well developed.

Duck Waddle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of those deluxe titles from Art Fisher's pen. It's rhythm dominated, and quite playful. Chunky and pleasing.

Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Wow! This is a rousing delivery of Paul Johnson's tune made a hit by Eddie & the Showmen. The performance is hot, and drives mightily. Excellent drums, way cool guitar work, speedily picked by Art Fisher, and excellent sax reed police siren courtesy of Chas Stewart.

Birdland dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Donald Byrd's amazingly rhythmic number was a standard among the Mexican bands of the day. The Belairs may have been the only non-Mexican band playing it. Quite cool. Chas Stewart's sax carries the melody.