Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Fireballs - Gunshotdotdotdot
artworkThis album is a collection of singles and unreleased material spanning 1960 & 1961. Tracks 1-12 are the original album. The Fireballs were contemporaries with the progenitors of surf music when this album was released. They really had a handle on the palm-damped plying style, and had to have inspired the young surf bands. Paul Johnson listened to a lot of Fireballs as a budding teenage guitar hero with future whiz kid Eddie Bertrand in Paul's bedroom. The Fireballs sound is approaching and is often indistinguishable from early surf. This foursome recorded with the legendary Norman Petty in Clovis, New Mexico. Fireball guitarist George Tomsco wrote the liner notes.
Picks: Gunshot, Yacky Doo, Rik-A-Tik, Dooop, Joshi, Carioca, Really Big Time, Almost Paradise, Sweet Talk, Sneakers, I Doubt It, Rik-A-Tik, Gunshot, Find Me A Golden Street

Track by Track Review


Gunshot dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Gunshot" is a cool and typical Fireballs tune. It has a plucky humorous melody line that is infectious and choppy. It has strange highly reverbed hand claps, and a cantina feel to it. Melodic and happy.

Yacky Doo dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Yacky Doo" suffers from those period "oh-oh" harmonies sung over parts of the song. Too bad it's not the undubbed version here. It is still a nice track, and the "oh oh's" aren't so frequent that it turns you off. The writing is much inspired by "Bulldog" or "Torquay," as is much of their work.

Rik-A-Tik dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is a brilliant bit of writing and playing. The rhythmic nature of the piece is relentless, and the melody is among the happiest of all rock instros. It was covered by the Lively Ones to great affect. This original rendering is much lighter than the Lively Ones version, but it has it's own infectious chunk and playfulness. This track rules.

Dooop dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Dooop" has a cool melody and brilliant slide accents at the ends of the melody lines. It has such charm and playfulness, that even if you want to hate it, you can't. It's too cute, and too fun. Pluck is the watchword, as the Fireballs deliver this joyous number via damped strings and slithering notes. Great!

Joshi dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

This seems to be not much more than a progression, a boogie in the dark looking for a melody, a spin on the Virtues success, but with Fireballs sensibilities. "Joshi" is cool, but unremarkable.

Carioca dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Now if you want to hear groundbreaking ideas, try this on for size. Long before Jack Nitzche growled out "The Lonely Surfer," the Fireballs were playing a really low lead lines (maybe even on a bass?). Really evil for it's day!

Really Big Time dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Really Big Time" is a very cool song, and sports that typical Fireballs sound. It pokes around the chords one note at a time, damped picking, plucky sound, then accented by open chords. A fine track.

Almost Paradise dotdotdot
Pre Surf MOR (Instrumental)

Hinting at Adventures In Paradise, this is a very pretty track, despite being marred by violins. A proper surf arrangement would certainly help. Splashback currently include "Almost Paradise" in their set, which they fortunately do without the strings.

Sweet Talk dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

A bluesy number that matches a whistled lead line with a dry guitar. It's unusual, but not very interesting, and it has a bit too much bachelor pad stupidity to it for my taste. A bit if Indian riffage in the middle does not save it from the nevermind heap.

Sneakers dotdotdot
Bachelor Pad (Instrumental)

More odd bachelor pad weirdness, not very Fireballs-like, and not very memorable, though it could certainly be surfed up with some hot double picking.

I Doubt It dotdotdot
Bachelor Pad (Instrumental)

More bachelor pad tomfoolery, oozing geek sensibilities and nothing memorable. It belongs in a 1960 Quinn-Martin TV show.

Rik-A-Tik dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is a brilliant bit of writing and playing. The rhythmic nature of the piece is relentless, and the melody is among the happiest of all rock instros. It was covered by the Lively Ones to great affect. This original rendering is much lighter than the Lively Ones version, but it has it's own infectious chunk and playfulness. This track rules.

Gunshot dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Gunshot" is a cool and typical Fireballs tune. It has a plucky humorous melody line that is infectious and choppy. It has strange highly reverbed hand claps, and a cantina feel to it. Melodic and happy.

Find Me A Golden Street dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Find Me A Golden Street" is a very nice track. It is melodic, semi spaghetti western or spy conscious, but more chunky and rhythmic. A fine track. The Shockwaves used to due in their set, and Splashback currently do.