Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Duo-Tones - Surf Music Electrifieddotdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Duo-Tones came into the Pit at KFJC on November 4, 2002 for a live set. They played and talked shop for a mere 2-1/2 hours. The Duo-Tones are surf legend Paul Johnson (Belairs, etc.) and Gil Orr (Chantays). The electric guitars add a whole dimension of power and slither not possible with acoustic guitars, particularly in the area of reverb and whammy. Amazing!
Picks: Pipeline, Mr. Moto, Apache, Baja, Squad Car, Lullaby Of The Leaves, California Dreamin', Forty Miles Of Bad Road, The Lonely Bull, Georgia On My Mind, Penetration, Ramrod, Perfidia, Baja Nights, Vamonos, Little Wing, Conquistador, Kamikaze, Hideaway, Last Date, Border Patrol, Beach City Bop, Crystal-T, The Wedge, Mr. Moto

Track by Track Review


Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening the performance is the Chantays' signature song "Pipeline," with Gil Orr taking the main lead, and Paul Johnson leading the break. This electric duel is way more infectious than their album simply due to the electricity of the moment and the amps. Beautiful!

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's signature song is next in line, and it's excellentamundo! Originally written for two guitars alone, it demonstrates the brilliance of the writing with these two veteran players at the helm.

Apache dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Talk about your liquid guitar lines! Paul Johnson's leads pour from his ax like quicksilver. The smoothness and suavitudinal sound bring chills! Jerry Lordan's lush Indian melody was originally cut by the Shadows and a hit in the US by Jorgen Ingman.

Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood's most familiar surf instro "Baja" is arranged essentially as it was when Paul Johnson cut it for the California album with his eighties band the Packards. Highly rhythmic and richly textured, it captures you and doesn't let go!

Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This was a special request by me. Ever since first hearing the bedroom demo with just Paul and Eddie on the Belairs' Origins Of Surf Music album, I've believed this would be spectacular at a reduced pace with a more delicate attack. Boy was I right. This is exquisite! Fluid like mercury pouring from a cauldron, rhythmic as only Paul Johnson can write it, and remarkably emotional. There aren't enough stars!

Lullaby Of The Leaves dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Lullaby Of The Leaves" (originally a Russian or Romanian folk tune I think - someone will email me with the correct answer I'm sure) is as infectious as you'd expect, both because of this duo, and because of the Ventures' "Walk Don't Run" arrangement it is adapted from.

California Dreamin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

John Phillips' poppy flower child anthem never sounded so good. Fluid and emotional, it is well arranged and very pretty. Paul added this to his repertoire on record a long time ago, first appearing on his Electric Guitar album, and then on his Liquid Blues CD.

Forty Miles Of Bad Road dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With vibrato throbbing on the lead, Duane Eddy's "Forty Miles Of Bad Road" is spot-on, with charm and a gentle delivery that offsets well against the original Southern rock rebel anthem intent. Excellent!

The Lonely Bull dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This may be the silkiest interpretation of Sol Lake's great song. As close as you can get to this is the Dream Syndicate's ultra cool version. This is way more suave and debonair. Like a gentle river flowing to the sea, "The Lonely Bull" takes you along for a drift on soft currents on a summer day. Splendid!

Georgia On My Mind dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An ancient standard gets a semi-jazzy treatment with Gil Orr in charge. He even got inspired to sing averse. Very soft and squishy.

Penetration dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Again with Gil at the wheel, the Duo-Tones exploit the rhythm power of the Pyramids' "Penetration." Gil uses some of the Ventures arrangement in his lead. Nice track.

Ramrod dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Al Casey's rhythm throbber "Ramrod" is infectious and way fun. As a side bar, this was a hit for Duane Eddy, who was absent from the session (he was on the road), which left Al Casey to play the lead.

Perfidia dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Alberto Dominguez funky "Perfidia" originated in the forties I think. The Ventures dragged it into their "Walk Don't Run" arrangement and hit with it again in '60 or '61. Arranged for just two guitars, the V-boys' brilliant simplicity and sense of rhythm is augment by this pair of guitarists. Very nice!

Baja Nights dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This new Gil Orr song is Spanish all the way, with a really warm and friendly Baja California fishing village feel. Very smooth, and quite sunny and delicate.

Vamonos dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one infectious and fun song, and with just dueling guitars, it's even more childlike in its simplicity and catchiness. This is a song Paul Johnson recorded with PJ and Artie, but it never made it to disc. He carried forward into the Packards, and still leans on its great Spanish rhythms today.

Little Wing dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jimi Hendrix's great "Little Wing" is a natural vehicle for surf guitar. It is blues based, but so fluid and sultry that the sun shimmers off the water every time it's played. Naturally, when the Duo-Tones apply their craft it becomes a sunset surf epic. Marvelous!

Conquistador dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Chantays' tuff and choppy "Conquistador" is a fun vehicle for these two. It takes on a whole new sound and fell this way. The delicate guitar work adds immensely, especially in the break.

Kamikaze dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson was hoping "Kamikaze" would be the follow up to "Mr. Moto," but it didn't quite make it. It's a great tune readily identifiable as a Paul Johnson composition. Infectious and totally warm.

Hideaway dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Freddie King ultra cool "Hideaway" was common among surfband sets in the day, and still holds attraction after all these years. In a guitar only arrangement, it's fluid and warm.

Last Date dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mighty warm arrangement of Floyd Cramer's "Last Date." The lead guitar shimmer with vibrato charm while the rhythm plays the bass line. Very pretty indeed!

Border Patrol dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul just wrote this for the soundtrack to a surf film in production. It has the warmth and gentle twang of an "Endless Summer" and the Spanish romance of a "Latin'ia." Exceptionally pretty. More a summer Baja surf scene setter than a song, yet remarkable listenable and lush.

Beach City Bop dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another long time Paul Johnson tune from his days with the Galaxies, again showing just how powerful and enduring his writing is. This is an exceptional piece of music and an infectious performance.

Crystal-T dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Chantays song works really well in this rhythmic and amped up guitar duel. Warm and fun.

The Wedge dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's great song is wonderful at the hands of the Duo-Tones. Rich textures and rhythm-lead interdependence and liquid glissandos. Too cool!

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's signature song is next in line, and it's excellentamundo! Originally written for two guitars alone, it demonstrates the brilliance of the writing with these two veteran players at the helm.