Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jon and the Nightriders - Banished To The Beachdotdotdotdotdot
artworkGerman compilation of Jon & the Nightriders material from the first living room tapes in '79 to the late eighties. John Blair is a noted surf music historian, and his band was arguably the first revival band. This compilation is very strong, from beginning to end. My only complaint is that Baja from Live at the Whiskey isn't on it.
Picks: Bustin' Surfboards, Latin'ia, Bombay Beach, Depth Charge, Surfari, Surf Rider, The Truant, Journey To The Stars, Suicide Bay, Banzai Washout, The Force Of Gravity, Mr. Moto, Surf Party, The Nightrider, Rumble At Waikiki, (I Think I'm) Surfing Japanese, Penetration, Surfer Joe, Fuel Injected, Geronimo, Charge Of The Nightriders, The Wedge (A Run For Life), Hit Man, Storm Dancer, Boss, Catalina, Stampede, The Breeze and I, Hawaii Five-0

Track by Track Review


Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It all restarted right here. This track comes from the first release of the Surf Revival, 1979's 4-song blue vinyl EP on California Records titled Bustin' Surfboards. It was John's first J&NR session as well. John had been in surf bands as a kid, and was itching to play again. He found buddies with an interest, and created what became the first shot in the rise of the surf instrumental from obscurity to passionate pursuit. The song is well played, and the all the right hooks are there. This session has a fairly dry sound, and the limitations of the recording equipment is evident in the listening. Still, it's a well done labor of love, and created a whole new generation of admirers, as well as launching a whole lot of other bands.

Latin'ia dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track comes from the LP first release of the Surf Revival, 1980's "Surf Beat '80" on Voxx Records. Like their earlier EP, this session has a fairly dry sound, and the limitations of the studio are evident. Still, it's a step towards a whole new thing. The band is still formative, but has it down anyway.

Bombay Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track finds J&NR doing another obscure surf instro with increasing flair and energy. From the gong intro forward, it's a really pleasant track, full of exotic far away imagery.

Depth Charge dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

John's first self penned tune for the surf world, and like Danny Amis's "Calhoun Surf," it has become his signature tune, much requested by fans. A solid performance, the first of several for John's band, and it's been covered by Beach Coma a.k.a. The Surf Rats.

Surfari dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I think this track is the earliest that really exemplifies what was to become the signature J&NR sound, fiery leads, and totally happening machine gun drums - a very chunky sound.

Surf Rider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Competent and reverent rendition of the Nokie Edwards number made famous by the Lively Ones.

The Truant dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a solid rendition of the Truants' obscuro. Tuff and chunky, with edge. There's moodiness from the thumpy nature of the mix.

Journey To The Stars dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Totally accurate and much more magical cover of the Ventures classic single!

Suicide Bay dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Cool rhythm track behind a sad/eerie instro. Moody, sullen, yet seems to imply a rebirth. A really a good listen.

Banzai Washout dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Stunningly hot version of the Catalinas classic, written by the late sax session player Steve Douglas. Recorded live on cassette from the audience at Jon and the Nightriders' first live show at the Santa Monica Civic opening for Dick Dale and the Surf Punks.

The Force Of Gravity dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening drama yields to a nice but simple progression, "The Force Of Gravity" pounds out a rock solid surf rage. Originally released by the Genteels, this has been in Jon and the Nightriders's set for decades. Excellent!

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A solid performance of the Belairs classic. John Blair always gets it right. His reverence for the roots of this music always shows through his recordings.

Surf Party dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Astronauts hit with this tune, which was the title track from the film of the same name. This is a great performance, as usual. Lots of spunk and rhythm.

The Nightrider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jon and the Nightriders' signature tune is a percussive and lively surf instro, with a ton of energy and great splash. The band drives hard, and John Blair plays his heart out.

Rumble At Waikiki dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song has all the right elements, from the thundering glissandoes to the pounding percussion. Totally infectious.

(I Think I'm) Surfing Japanese dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An amazing track, inspired by the Vapours' (I Think I'm) Turning Japanese. This not only captures all the fun new wave edge of the Vapours, but adds to it with the intensity of Jon and the Nightriders. It is infectious, fun, and powerful. A must have track. Produced by Kim Fowley "live in the studio" at Heritage Studios, LA 1981.

Penetration dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A brief version of the Pyramids classico, recorded to a specific length for the film Surf II. Super obscure.

Surfer Joe dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very brief version of the Surfaris standard without words, recorded to a specific length for the film Surf II. Super obscure.

Fuel Injected dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An original written and recorded for the film Surf II. Super obscure.

Geronimo dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the great modern Indian riff based surf tracks. A J&NR standard! What a great track this is - entirely infectious, and not the usual trite Indian theme stuff, but still readily recognizable as within that genre. Totally great!

Charge Of The Nightriders dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It's been done before, but never pulled off. Great surfization of the "William Tell Overture" from 1982.

The Wedge (A Run For Life) dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jon and the Nightriders resurrect the first Dick Dale arrangement of "The Wedge" under its original title, but without Dick's trumpet. This is a very flexible song, as the many covers attest to. These guys give it yet another sound and feel. Excellent!

Hit Man dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The first recording of the extremely hot Dave Wronski original, now a standard fixture in this band, as well as Agent Orange, and Slacktone, both of which feature Dave's guitar talent. Really good track!

Storm Dancer dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the best numbers John Blair has written. Very hot and infectious. In fact, this track rules! The fire in the percussion, the catchy nature of the melody, the power in the rhythm... a masterpiece! Very hot and infectious. Aside from being one of the best second wave bands, Jon and the Nightriders are incredibly tight and percussive.

Boss dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The focus is shifted away from the sax and onto the surf rhythm for a truly "Boss" performance of the Rumblers' classic hit. The Rumblers declared themselves not to be a surf band, but there's not doubt about the surf credentials of this tune in the hands of Jon and the Nightriders.

Catalina dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Grand track, lots of melody and fine performance. It has a mysterious feel to it, slightly ominous and energetic. Excellent! The original version was titled "Rod Hot Rod" by The King Pins (Larse 101, 1966).

Stampede dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This rockabilly standard, originally done by the Scarlets in 1959, has been recorded plenty as of late, but this is the first time it was surfed up. This rendering is simply superb! Wonderful percussive energy!

The Breeze and I dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among the best versions of this often covered Ernesto Lacuona Cuban classic, Jon and the Nightriders liquefy the song's romance. This is an exceptionally good track!

Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not listed, this is mystery track 29. A super short version of TV show theme, recorded to a specific length for the film Surf II. Super obscure.