Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Johnny and the Hurricanes - The Legends Collection Volume 1dotdotdot
artworkJohnny and the Hurricanes were a magical outfit. Their knack for taking common tunes and doing uncommon arrangements that were truly rockin' has never been matched. They could knock your socks off, or they could make you puke. They always teetered on the edge between great and horrid.
Picks: Cross Fire, Lazy, Red River Rock, Buckeye, Reveille Rock, Time Bomb, Sand Storm, Beatnik Fly, Down Yonder, Sheba, Rocking Goose, Revival, Molly-O, You Are My Sunshine, Ja-Da

Track by Track Review


Cross Fire dotdotdotdot
Sax Guitar (Instrumental)

Guitar machine gun riff and a growling sax in a most ominous tune. You can just see a stylized prohibition gang land drive by...

Lazy dotdotdot
Guitar Sax Organ (Instrumental)

Guitar melody slowly shimmers as the organ counters and the sax cries for mercy.

Red River Rock dotdotdot
Sax & Organ Rock (Instrumental)

The first of what would become their formula, public domain standards ominously rocked out with organ dominated evil sax instrumentals with great Dave Yorko guitar breaks. "Red River Rock" never sounded so cool! It was instro covers of public domain standards that originally influenced Paul Johnson, who used "Little Brown Jug" among others in the Belairs sets (and on disc).

Buckeye dotdot
Sax Piano Guitar (Instrumental)

A bison bop tune with the guitar laying down a cool riff under a mean sax and a pumping piano.

Reveille Rock dotdotdotdot
Military Organ-Sax-Guitar Rave (Instrumental)

Yup! This just plain rocks! Not many of the instros of the late fifties really pummeled, but this had more energy than most everything else of the day. The organ lead is so-o-o cool, and the spit-ball sax just rips! Dave Yorko's guitar break rules too! When I was in the service, I used to play this in the barracks at reveille to wake the slumbering masses.

Time Bomb dotdot
Organ Sax Guitar Jazz (Instrumental)

No explosion from this misnamed tune. More a cool for cats Beat/Jazz number and a simple riff-rocker.

Sand Storm dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Dave Yorko's simple infectious guitar line, mixed with bells, a pumping choppy organ and sax sums up to a mighty fine track. The Neon Spores used to do this song to great effect. Some enterprising surf band should pick this up and surf the Hell out of it.

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.

Down Yonder dotdotdotdotdot
Organ Guitar Sax (Instrumental)

The kettle drum is so-o-o cool here. It adds that extra dimension to a nearly screaming organ lead or that rapid fire damped guitar chop and sax squirtology. When the sax takes the lead, the organ pumps the same way the guitar was. Very infectious arrangement and powerhouse performance.

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!!!!

Rocking Goose dotdotdotdot
Organ Sax (Instrumental)

With the sax squirting out goose honks and the organ pumping out a simple lead line, this track has to be one of the most infectious gimmick records ever recorded.

Revival dotdotdot
Organ Sax (Instrumental)

"When The Saints Go Marching In" has been done by dozens of rock and R&B acts, including the cooler-than-cool version by the Viscounts. Here, the organ melody line is accented with sax slides, until they trade places. Nice and pumped.

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.

Ja-Da dot
Organ (Instrumental)

Again, a loungy arrangement with an organ lead.