Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Bobby Fuller - El Paso Rock Volume 2 More Early Recordingsdotdotdotdot
artworkBobby Fuller was one of those performers with an apparent bright future that was unrealized. His untimely and mysterious death truncated his legacy, and amplified his legend. It's arguable whether he was on the way up, or about to crash from the stylistic changes that were imposed by the British Invasion. In either case, his creative writing and the intensity of his performances, coupled with his use of surf instros in his Southwest rock sets was prematurely ended. Bobby's passion for surf instros was matched by his lead guitarist's disdain for them. On stage, Bobby played the leads on the surf instros, and in the studio, he often played both lead and rhythm. His most famous surf instro is "Our Favorite Martian." Bobby wrote some fine tunes, and covered others. I suspect his like for them was driven in part by his melodic sense. His writing was very melody oriented, which even then was a rare commodity in a rock band writer. This CD is one of several in a series that Norton records has released from the family archives. There is one newly surfaced instro here. These tracks are all recorded live in El Paso between 1962 and 1964. In most cases, the sound is somewhat limited in quality, but the caliber of the performance overcomes that barrier, though it would certainly be wonderful to find high fidelity and better quality tapes of these performances. I read somewhere that the tapes that included "Miserlou" were actually recorded at P. J.'s in Hollywood in '65, but I have no way to substantiate that.
Picks: 2,000 lb. Bee, Shanghai'd, Miserlou, Lonely Sea / Lolita, Penetration

Track by Track Review

2,000 lb. Bee dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby plays a tasty lead guitar on this Ventures original. It's a simple tune with little about it that suggest bumble bees or honey bees. The performance is precise and energetic. Bobby introduces it as the "thousand pound bee" before being corrected on the weight.

Shanghai'd dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Rick Dangle (Wailers) tune is tribal, melodic, and though it is pre-surf era, can be surfed up easily. Bobby Fuller's guitar tones are edgier, but his delivery has all the necessary elements. It's a nice rendering. Bobby's laughs and birdcalls are priceless.

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby was clearly impressed with Dick Dale's prowess. His rendering uses the Surfers Choice live Rendezvous arrangement verbatim, sans only the strings, but with some of the violin parts being incorporated on guitar. His playing is fiery and inspired. This could have easily been identified as Dick Dale live if unlabeled. It's got everything except his trumpet, and the aural qualities are not far from those on the Rendezvous tapes. Damn fine track!

Lonely Sea / Lolita dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Here, Bobby combines the Ventures "Lonely Sea" with his original "Lolita." Both are slower tunes, and sport Hawaiian images. "Lolita" is particularly melodic and very pretty. Bobby's playing is gorgeous here. There's a sway about it that lulls you into adoration of his writing.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Appearing for the first time on disc, this performance is really lo-fi, probably an audience tape. Of course, it is NOT "Pipeline" as the track list shows, but it is the Pyramids' "Penetration." It shows Bobby's skill, and the greatness of this band's surf performances, but the sound is so thin it's difficult to listen to except for it's historical value.