Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Illusions - Surfin' and Stompin'dotdotdotdot
artworkKnown mostly for their amazing "Jezebel" single, this obscure bands entire output resides in this CD. So good to see it all hit the light of day. The disc features some rare demos and live tracks,, collaborations with Marlowe Stewart, and with Little Julian Herrera and Bobby Mason, plus a couple of fine tracks from the 1983 Rhino release by the Wedge, which featured Tom Brown of the Illusions. Much of their music is highly original.
Picks: Surfer's Lullaby, Lido Stomp, Que Paso, Jezebel, Nitemare, Earthquake!, Moanin', Summertime, Gremmie Suicide, Endless Sun

Track by Track Review

Surfer's Lullaby dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

What a playful track this is, gentle, almost childlike. It certainly captures the sleepy drifty lullaby feel. It's melodic, and fun, with a rhythm guitar with the high end rolled off playing chords like you might expect from a Hawaiianesque track. Quite a nice track.

Lido Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very Freddie King like track, bluesy and jazzy, and interesting. It's got that "San-Ho-Zay" feel and structure, relying on repetition and rhythm to carry it off. Infectious and fun.

Que Paso dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a strongly reverbed and dribbled track, chunky and spiritously delivered. Whammy chorded, Surf Trio oriented, wetly picked. More than a progression, less than a melody. Cool track.

Jezebel dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Illusions were one mean sounding surf band! "Jezebel" totally pummels the living effluent out of you. Low-E menacing staccato powerhouse! Need I say more? Drummer Tom Brown wound up later in the Wedge. John Blair says that Tom told him this track was recorded with a single mic... yikes!

This amazing version of the Frankie Lane classic is mimicked almost exactly by Mark Brodie and the Beaver Patrol.

Nitemare dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Damped surf, plucked infectiously in a mid tempo twang tune. The double picked parts scream for the breaks to be applied, but alas there is no relief. This is much like a merger between the Vy Dells and the Pyramids. Pretty cool.

Earthquake! dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a stormy intensity, this churns out a warning to all who ride the curl on the coast. It's somewhat dangerous, and yet not hazardous. A solid track.

Moanin' dotdot
Moron Surf (Instrumental)

Lo-fi chord progressions, fifties double picking, and nimrod laughing. Moron surf for the less articulate.

Summertime dotdot
Vibrato Fifties Drag (Instrumental)

Another lo end track, opening with a track announcement and motor sounds taken from some drag racing album. Fifties vibrato progression.

Gremmie Suicide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rhythmically surfy, nicely arranged, and very solid. great glissandos, a chunky backtrack, and a magnetic energy. This reminds me somewhat of a surfier, more artful, and slightly more subdued "Shore Break" (Tommy & the Piers).

Endless Sun dotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Western Surf (Instrumental)

This fine tune lies somewhere between spaghetti western and the Shadows. It is melodic, well crafted, and memorable. It's slightly mean, yet friendly enough to keep close at hand. A very nice track.