Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Paul Johnson and the Packards - Guitar Heavendotdotdotdot
artworkAnother in Paul Johnson's releases from the eighties, "Guitar Heaven" at least saw vinyl release in the eighties. His impeccable surf credentials and exquisite writing lend themselves to many forms, including his Christian rock concept, which combines Paul's talent and beliefs in an enticing structure and sound. Often dramatic and artful, this instrumental album sports some beautiful music.
Picks: Armour Of Light, The Magnificat, Pressing In, Joyful Blues, Gird Thy Sword On, Those That Seek Me Early Shall Find Me, Don't Be Too Proud (To Be God's Child), The Lord Is A Light To Me, Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord, He Is Lord

Track by Track Review


Armour Of Light dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

Very unsurf, and relatively pompous melody. It's pretty, but not endearing. This seems to be mighty arty or something, just not fun, not interestingly serious, and not memorable. I'm not sure I can delineate why I am put off by this track, but I am.

The Magnificat dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

Upbeat, happy, and melodic. This track sports some pomp and some drama, but not much interest. I found it pleasant and listenable, but not memorable.

Pressing In dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

A light weight bluesy melody, sad and melodramatic, almost self pitying. Like many of the other Christian theme tracks here, it seems to take itself too seriously or something, missing the mark, and not being retained after playing.

Joyful Blues dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Like the title says, an up tempo, upbeat, celebrative track in a clearly blues vein. It doesn't fit into the surf thing at all.

Gird Thy Sword On dotdotdotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

This is an infectious, if slightly serious surfish instro that transcends the target audience. Not exactly surf, but then it IS Paul Johnson and he was there at the birth of the genre. I like this track a lot, with it's melodic and dramatic nature, pristine guitar sound, and soulful energy. A great track. The grand exception to the rule, this Christian theme track is dramatic and serious, full of pomp and circumstance, but it is very interesting, and heartfelt. It bridges the gap between Paul's spiritual side and his surf roots, and the blend is exceptionally strong. I've played this track many times on Surf's Up. It's melody is simple but very effective, and the frequent changes are masterful. The rising and falling power brings the rising and falling of a swell immediately to mind, which is probably why it works so well.

Those That Seek Me Early Shall Find Me dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

This gentle track floats behind the curtain while you do something else, like a hippy folk art thing. It's pretty and atmospheric, but not meant for center focus.

Don't Be Too Proud (To Be God's Child) dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

Highly rhythmic, infectious melody, and high spirits characterize this track. Paul's enthusiasm for this track is obvious in his performance, and in his writing as well. Very interesting and friendly, and most appealing.

The Lord Is A Light To Me dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

Lightweight, delicately picked, almost acoustic, with a slight Endless Summer tone to it, and a very pretty melody. It's more than a backdrop, but less than a topdown number.

Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

Very chunky, infectious, and melodic. This track is magnetic, with many changes and drama, presented in an energetic and light hearted way. The addition of sax adds color to this number.

He Is Lord dotdotdot
Christian Rock (Instrumental)

A slow backdrop to something else. I had trouble staying with this track, because it seemed so unfocused. It's very pretty, just more like a sequence track for a film than a song.