Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Eddie and the Showmen - Squad Cardotdotdotdot
artworkAfter a mere 30 years in hiding, the complete Eddie & the Showmen story can finally be told in music. There are really strong tunes here, and some downright essentially vintage surf. Eddie & the Showmen were one of the most important bands of the era, and it's sad that they languished for so long in the domain of collectors only. Eddie had been a founding member of the Belairs, but left when he wanted to use the Dick Dale sound and Paul Johnson didn't. This band includes future Standells drummer Dick Dodd, and future Humans guitarist John Anderson, as well as Humans sax man Sterling Storm. You hold in your hand a major piece of history. My only complaint are the few mono tracks not in stereo, and the weak liner notes. The historical documentation is ok, but I found them hard to read and stick to.
Picks: Toes On The Nose, Border Town, Squad Car, Scratch, Las Olas, And The Angels Sing, Showmen Stomp, Movin', Mr. Rebel, Lanky Bones, Far Away Places, Dark Eyes, We Are The Young, Young And Lonely, Break Time, Then He Kissed Me, Wayward Wind

Track by Track Review

Toes On The Nose dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One side of the first single, this is a really grand number, with unusual use of glissandos. It's choppy, powerful, and very infectious.

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.

Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is THEE Eddie & the Showmen song, and their second single. Written by Paul Johnson, it totally shreds. The best news is it finally appears in stereo.

Scratch dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very shallow stereo mix of the often covered song. It's very powerful, and a must have. B-side of single number two.

Las Olas dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Unreleased Spanish tune that features a guitar / sax duet. It ends where they quit playing due to some discontent. It was never finished.

And The Angels Sing dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A really odd choice to cover, but, hey, it works really well. Who'da thunk? Eddie delivers a fiery performance.

Showmen Stomp dotdot
Surf (Vocal)

I suppose they all did this sorta tripe. It's no worse than Dick Dale's "King Of The Surf Guitar," but besides the nostalgia value, it's just fodder for the Untamed Youth camp.

Movin' dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Third single, and easily the best cover of this Lee Hazelwood tune. Lots' of sparks fly from Eddie's quick fingers.

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 one of the great surf singles, sporting a totally infectious and optimistic melody and beat.

Lanky Bones dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eddie's version is good, but Paul Johnson's is better. This is from the fourth single.

Far Away Places dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Man-oh-man. I wish this was in stereo. 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's the other side of the fourth single.

Dark Eyes dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Muddy band-track production mar this relatively pedestrian cover of an overdone standard.

We Are The Young dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Also known as "Theme One," this tune from the fifth single marks the transition into a lot less double picking and a more MOR sound with the oos-n-ahs. This song has a haunting melody, which I find to be quite endearing.

Young And Lonely dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

More oos-n-ahs don't save this pop tune. It has none of the memorable charm of the other side of this single. Too laid back. The energy was gone.

Break Time dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Yee-Haw! Eddie strikes gold with a hoe-down that'll surely drag you kicking and screaming onto the dance floor. Previously unreleased and very infectious.

Then He Kissed Me dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like his former band mate Paul Johnson, Eddie had a penchant for pop songs. His large sound was in line with the Phil Spector "Wall Of Sound" original of this song. I should hate this, but it is strangely attractive.

Wayward Wind dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Much like Paul's arrangement of this old Gogi Grant number. Soft and uninspired.