Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: South Bay Surf Band Reunion 1986dotdotdotdot
artworkIn the early days of surf, the South Bay bands were oriented towards melodic tunes, common covers, and a very dry sound, with an emphasis on interplay between the lead and rhythm guitar.

Teisco Del Rey introduces the first line up (actually the second line up) of the band, with Paul Johnson - guitar, Eddie Bertrand - guitar, Dickie Dodd - drums (who replaced Richard Delvy), and Chas Stewart - sax (Jim Roberts - piano is also absent). Note that there was no bass player in the Belairs until quite late in the game. Jim Roberts and Richard Delvy left to form the Challengers.

The second line up at the show was the third line up of the Belairs, They were introduced by John Blair (Jon & the Nightriders). Paul Johnson - guitar, Art Fisher - guitar (later with the Challengers), Chas Stewart - sax, Tiny Snider - drums, and Guy Hufford - bass filling in for Steve Lotto. Eddie Bertrand and Dickie Dodd had gone off to form Eddie & the Showmen. Art Fisher and Paul Johnson used to play after hours as PJ & Artie concurrently. Fisher had been in his own band the Journeymen before joining the Belairs.

Eddie & the Showmen were just the best. Eddie Bertrand - guitar, Bob Knight - sax, Dickie Dodd - drums, John Anderson (Baymen, Humans, Ninja Nomads, Neon Spores) - guitar, and Steve Soest (Dick Dale & his Del-tones) - bass. Introductions were handled by Bob Dalley (Surf Raiders).

Bob Dalley introduces P.J. & the Galaxies. Tom Starr & the Galaxies were heavily influenced by the Belairs, so heavily that when Paul replaced Tom in the Galaxies, he said it was really eerie - like he'd always been in the band. They new every nuance of his material. The line up here is Paul Johnson - guitar, Skip Hand (Handful Of Fives, Eddie & the Showmen) - drums, Jim Boyle (Eddie & the Showmen) - guitar, Steve Pugh (Packards) - bass.

John Blair introduces David Marks & the Marksmen. The band is David Marks - guitar, Kip Brown - guitar, Mark Grosclose - drums, Bill Trinkle - bass. David Marks was the Beach Boy who left the band because he thought they weren't going anywhere. The set ends with Eddie Bertrand singing "Louie Louie" for the sound crew.

Teisco Del Rey introduces the Packards. The Packards are Paul Johnson's eighties-nineties band. Paul Johnson - guitar, Mark Burroughs - guitar, Ray Husky - drums, Guy Hufford - bass.

Phil Dirt introduces the Halibuts, and Eddie Bertrand interrupts them to say that they "put us all to shame" before playing "Malegueña" with them. Pete Curry - guitar, Rick Johnson - guitar, Bruce Paddy - keyboard, Kevin Daily - bass, Randy Haskins - drums, and Joey Lyou - sax. Now, don't go out lookin' for this. It's just a CD-R from the show. However, there is a video available from "Surfin Colours" (Domenic Priori).
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, Squad Car, Border Town, Scratch, Far Away Places, Lanky Bones, Mr. Rebel, Tally Ho, Windshield Wiper, Scouse [Lobscouse], The Rise and Fall Of Flingel Bunt, Andelé, Side 2, Travelin', The Sheriff Of Nottingham, Wiggle Wobble, Tequila, Ramrod, Armour Of Light, Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord, Bedlam, Day Tripper, Pressing In, Don't Be Too Proud (To Be God's Child), Joyful Blues, Baja, Mr. Moto, Kamikaze, Gird Thy Sword On, Link Wray Medley [Rumble / Jack The Ripper / Rawhide], Centipede, Shore Pound, Mr. Mysterioso, Exodus 5-0, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, The Man From H.A.L.I.B.U.T., Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, Skinny Dip, La Bamba, Let's Go Trippin', Forty Miles Of Bad Road, Malaguena, Batman, Pipeline, Walk, Don't Run

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.

Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is THEE Eddie & the Showmen song, and their second single. Written by Paul Johnson, it totally shreds. Right from the pounding drums through the sax reed police siren, to Eddie Bertrand's raging guitar, this rips! Solid, chunky, and way WAY cool.

Border Town dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Strongly based on Bob Moore's "Mexico," this number has been a fave of mine for 35 years, despite the out-of-tune guitar. This rendition capitalizes on the chunky rhythm, and is wonderfully played.

Scratch dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Scratch" was often covered. It was a single for Eddie & the Showmen. With characteristic pizzazz, the band shred through this hot tune. Eddie Bertrand adds a few modern guitar licks, but otherwise, this is the Real McCoy.

Far Away Places dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of my favorite Eddie & the Showmen tunes. It has a great and very memorable melody that fits it's title exactly. It was the other side of the fourth single. The band play really well together. The track moves right along with a driving-down-the-highway feel.

Lanky Bones dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eddie Bertrand's version of Paul Johnson's tune. More power based than the Belairs' version, this is a big time deal, with a lot of energy and punch.

Mr. Rebel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eddie and the Showmen's third single was a tribute to KRLA DJ Reb Foster, who also owned the Revelaire Club, where Eddie Bertrand found themselves to be the house band for a while. This is an updated version. The band played without reverb at the show, so it has a bigger rock feel. Much more powerful than the original, but not as magical.

Tally Ho dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a really rhythmic tune, and P. J. & the Galaxies play it toned down and delicate. Excellent arrangement of a PJ standard. Yahoo!

Windshield Wiper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Windshield Wiper" is a slow and rhythmic piece that hints of the islands. This arrangement is faster than the 1980 Packards arrangement, which is more fitting. It plods along with a grin and a melodic riff. very fine.

Scouse [Lobscouse] dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Scouse" is slang for "Lobscouse," a type of fisherman's stew. Paul Johnson wrote this in response to the British Invasion. It's melodic and rhythmic. Very cool.

The Rise and Fall Of Flingel Bunt dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Shadows tune is quite cooly delivered. The mid tempo, perfect drums, and fun melody line all work together here. The chunk-chop of Jim Boyle's rhythm guitar are primary in it's holding together. Excellent.

Andelé dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of Paul Johnson's most infectious rhythm dominated originals is played well. I can't say I've heard a bad version of this.

Side 2 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Originally issued as a B-side (hence the name), this is a fun and happy tune, enhanced by the use of Tiny Schnieder's cow bell.

Travelin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mid tempo instro with a travellin' feel (just like the title says). It's moderately interesting, with a pleasing riff. David Marks' guitar wouldn't stay in tune.

The Sheriff Of Nottingham dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is just what it says... David Marks firebrand double picked peon to the King of the Surf Guitar. Lot's of fast picking, but little melody. It's pretty fun and spunky. The compressed guitar chops are neo modern, but they work well with the tune. The band is pretty sloppy. Marks introduced "Sheriff Of Nottingham" as a "cheap imitation of Dick Dale."

Wiggle Wobble dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The bass is out of tune, they all seem to be in different keys, and Les Cooper was dying. The sax is very cool, though.

Tequila dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A sloppy rendition, with the bass playing the wrong thing it seems. The sax is solid.

Ramrod dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rippin' cover of the Al Casey tune that is often played by the riff rockers. It pounds, it shreds, it powers the show.

Armour Of Light dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

Paul's Christian Rock side is displayed in this melodic and dramatic piece. It's quite pretty, and well played.

Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

Infectious and rhythmic, this is a smashing high energy tune with a splendid riff and plenty of drive.

Bedlam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Classic Belairs material still works really well. Paul Johnson's playing is just plain superb. This was covered by the Challengers and others, and is very similar to "Beat '65 in some ways."

Day Tripper dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Beatles' tune with the big guitar intro becomes an infectious rocker. Excellent.

Pressing In dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

Slow and uplifting, spiffy and shiny. This is a tame song with delicate lines and a melodic sound. very well played and quite enjoyable.

Don't Be Too Proud (To Be God's Child) dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

Hot energy, high power, melodic, and splendidly played. This is an excellent performance.

Joyful Blues dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Like the title says, an up tempo, upbeat, celebrative track in a clearly blues vein. It doesn't fit into the surf thing at all.

Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Packards arrangement of this classic Lee Hazelwood composition is stunning. The power driven bridges make it really stand out. Chunky, powerful, and high spirited.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the earliest surf classic. It was originally cut by the Belairs in May of 1961. Paul Johnson's Packards keep it alive, fresh, and vital. Ray Husky's drums make this extra hot.

Kamikaze dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an extra rhythmic power chunk version of the ancient Belairs tune, driven and superb. 'Nuff said!

Gird Thy Sword On dotdotdotdotdot
Progressive Christian Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the best of Paul Johnson's modern instros. It transcend any notion of genre. It surfs, it flows with progressive blood, and it rails against the darkness. Stunning performance and exceptional writing.

Link Wray Medley [Rumble / Jack The Ripper / Rawhide] dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson medleyed together several Link Wray classics, including Rumble, Rawhide, and Jack the Ripper.

Rumble (album version): This is quite pure, precisely delivered, and quite nice. It is not as powerful as Link's masterpiece, and more rhythm oriented. It also is sans the raw distortion the the Linkster gave it.

Jack the Ripper Now, this is more like it. Somewhere between what the Insect Surfers have done with this, and what Link intended, this is a screamer with intricate perfection in the lead guitar. Powerful. Rawhide: This is a fast paced, almost manic delivery, fulfilling the promise only hinted at by Link.

Centipede dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is just about their best song ever. It's infectious, and they play it so well. The swollen organ and excellent reverb, plus the sax magic all equal surf madness.

Shore Pound dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Driven rhythm guitar, solid thump, and an infectious rhythm behind a sax lead. The mix is marred with too little sax. The ska rhythms are way cool.

Mr. Mysterioso dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This excellent tune leans heavily on a ska back beat, and uses an excellent sax melody, plus pounding tom tom laden drums. Totally infectious.

Exodus 5-0 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A merger of the theme from "Exodus" and "Hawaii Five-0." Fun and grin bearing.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thee spaghetti western, thee organ whistle, thee lead guitar call, and thee chunky rhythm. Yikes!

The Man From H.A.L.I.B.U.T. dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Quirky spies, reverb kicks, and too fun riffs dribble throughout this splendid tune. It's hard to listen to without seeing the grins on the lads' faces.

Slaughter On Tenth Avenue dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A standard cover of the Ventures' hit. Power, suavité, and ample fluidity. This is quite credible.

Skinny Dip dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This fine tune was covered by Agent Orange. It's been in Mike Palm's set for a long time, but not as long as the Halibuts'. Rhythmic and power seeking.

La Bamba dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slightly fuzzy delivery of the Richie Valens classico. Much like the Ventures' arrangement, and very fun.

Let's Go Trippin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

High energy delivery with Eddie Bertrand on lead guitar. Quite the spunky take.

Forty Miles Of Bad Road dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Every guitar player in the house was on stage by the end of the track. It was more than a jam, less than a tight performance. You had to be there.

Malaguena dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Incredibly fiery, and hot as Hell! Short, just a blastin' jam for fun, but just about as cool a piece of history as you can find.

Batman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Neil Hefty's TV theme, surfed up, played fast and loose with Joey Lyou's sax out front.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty chunky version of the Chantays' classic. The energy is high, and the waves are pounding the shore.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Punchy and fun, this cover of the Ventures 1960 arrangement is spot on, and closed the show.