Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Johnny and the Hurricanes - The Big Sound Of...dotdotdot
artworkJohnny and the Hurricanes were a unique band of talented guys who made some money off of the formula from their first hit. They took public domain ultra familiar tunes and rocked them up with their unusual small combo sound, with Paul Tesluk's whistling organ, Johnny Paris' screamin' sax, Dave Yorko's amazing guitar, Butch Mattice's bass, and Tony Kay's drums (replaced in 1959 by Don Slaczek). Most amazing of all is their pre-surf essential listening "Sheba." The band was originally known as the Orbits, the name under which they first released "Crossfire." This CD is a repro of their first album, in both stereo and then mono, with several bonus tracks, and even a vocal titled "Priceless Possession." This release marks the very first time this material has been issued from the masters. The difference is stunning. The liners are quite good as well.
Picks: Molly-O, You Are My Sunshine, Like Rock, Beatnik Fly, The Kid, Bye Bye Blackbird, Traffic Jam, Teensville Tonight, Mister Irving, Sheba, Tom's Tune, Corn Pone, Molly-O, You Are My Sunshine, Like Rock, Beatnik Fly, The Kid, Bye Bye Blackbird, Traffic Jam, Teensville Tonight, Mister Irving, Sheba, Tom's Tune, Corn Pone, Ten Little Indians, That's All, Money Honey

Track by Track Review


Molly-O dot
Organ Sax (Instrumental)

If they'd just left the strings outta the thing, it would have been a lot better. Oh well, it's not that great a loss. It is just a cover of "Greensleeves" after all.

You Are My Sunshine dot
Organ (Instrumental)

A basic rendition in a Perez Prado sorta way.

Like Rock dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Like Rock" is a real fifties sorta melody, slightly rock, slightly beatnik, and pretty cool. Dave Yorko's guitar is strained through a Leslie, the organ whistles, the and your senses detect a cool-for-cats kinda scene. Very suave.

Beatnik Fly dotdotdot
Organ Sax (Instrumental)

This is another track morphing a traditional song, as was the majority of the singles from this band. "Blue Tail Fly [Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care]" became "Beatnik Fly" over a cool backtrack and Dave Yorko's great guitar. The intro is so sad, then the Beat rhythm, breaks out and the cool jazz bass line, and then that whistlin' organ and mumblin' sax. It's way fun and melodic.

The Kid dotdot
Sax-Trumpet (Instrumental)

A trad fifties jammin' tune with a sax-trumpet duet supported by a pumping organ. Too dance party for me.

Bye Bye Blackbird dotdotdot
Organ Sax Guitar (Instrumental)

A lot like their earlier work, with the whistling organ and sax bridge, plus that trademark Dave Yorko guitar break. The tune is another public domain standard morphed into their standard format.

Traffic Jam dotdotdot
Tribal (Instrumental)

Traffic sounds lead in, with the band fading in with a jazzy guitar line and a honky-squonky sax pumping over tribal tones. Occasional Broadway sax lines detract... too MOR for the rest of the arrangement. The Tiki Tones could make hay with this.

Teensville Tonight dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With the rhythm from "Little Brown Jug" and a melody line from "Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight" a.k.a. "Camp Town Races.".. cool.

Mister Irving dot
Horn (Instrumental)

The horn section is doing the Broadway thing while the band plays without much spirit. Ho-hum.

Sheba dotdotdotdotdot
Tribal Middle Eastern Guitar (Instrumental)

Dave Yorko's magnificent guitar work just shines here. This incredible middle eastern melody is spectacular as is, but just imagine it surfed up! The organ is mysterious beneath it all. Why isn't some surf band doing this? It rips!!!!

Tom's Tune dot
Organ Elevator Strings (Instrumental)

It didn't merit much of a name, and now I know why. Take a slow variation on "Crossfire," play a whistling organ over the top, and add strings... elevator mung.

Corn Pone dotdot
Hickoid Folk (Instrumental)

A hickoidal rendition of "She'll Be Comin' 'Round The Mountain When She Comes."

Molly-O dot
Organ Sax (Instrumental)

If they'd just left the strings outta the thing, it would have been a lot better. Oh well, it's not that great a loss. It is just a cover of "Greensleeves" after all.

You Are My Sunshine dot
Organ (Instrumental)

A basic rendition in a Perez Prado sorta way.

Like Rock dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Like Rock" is a real fifties sorta melody, slightly rock, slightly beatnik, and pretty cool. Dave Yorko's guitar is strained through a Leslie, the organ whistles, the and your senses detect a cool-for-cats kinda scene. Very suave.

Beatnik Fly dotdotdot
Organ Sax (Instrumental)

This is another track morphing a traditional song, as was the majority of the singles from this band. "Blue Tail Fly [Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care]" became "Beatnik Fly" over a cool backtrack and Dave Yorko's great guitar. The intro is so sad, then the Beat rhythm, breaks out and the cool jazz bass line, and then that whistlin' organ and mumblin' sax. It's way fun and melodic.

The Kid dotdot
Sax-Trumpet (Instrumental)

A trad fifties jammin' tune with a sax-trumpet duet supported by a pumping organ. Too dance party for me.

Bye Bye Blackbird dotdotdot
Organ Sax Guitar (Instrumental)

A lot like their earlier work, with the whistling organ and sax bridge, plus that trademark Dave Yorko guitar break. The tune is another public domain standard morphed into their standard format.

Traffic Jam dotdotdot
Tribal (Instrumental)

Traffic sounds lead in, with the band fading in with a jazzy guitar line and a honky-squonky sax pumping over tribal tones. Occasional Broadway sax lines detract... too MOR for the rest of the arrangement. The Tiki Tones could make hay with this.

Teensville Tonight dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With the rhythm from "Little Brown Jug" and a melody line from "Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight" a.k.a. "Camp Town Races.".. cool.

Mister Irving dot
Horn (Instrumental)

The horn section is doing the Broadway thing while the band plays without much spirit. Ho-hum.

Sheba dotdotdotdotdot
Tribal Middle Eastern Guitar (Instrumental)

Dave Yorko's magnificent guitar work just shines here. This incredible middle eastern melody is spectacular as is, but just imagine it surfed up! The organ is mysterious beneath it all. Why isn't some surf band doing this? It rips!!!!

Tom's Tune dot
Organ Elevator Strings (Instrumental)

It didn't merit much of a name, and now I know why. Take a slow variation on "Crossfire," play a whistling organ over the top, and add strings... elevator mung.

Corn Pone dotdot
Hickoid Folk (Instrumental)

A hickoidal rendition of "She'll Be Comin' 'Round The Mountain When She Comes."

Ten Little Indians dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Like you might imagine it, "Ten Little Indians" sports an organ lead, alternate sax verses, and a fifties guitar jammin' break. Sorta cool, and kinda juvenile, but still somehow fun and attractive. Maybe it's the chunky rhythm guitar and driving bass-drums.

That's All dot
Fifties Sax (Instrumental)

A mellow fifties sax slow dance number. Like an Ace Cannon thing with slightly more bite.

Money Honey dot
Sax Boy Chorus (Instrumental)

Pedestrian sax rendition of the rock standard with a chorus.