Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jon and the Nightriders - Live At The Whiskeydotdotdotdotdot
artworkSimply the best live surf instrumental record ever made! John's incredible energy is unsurpassed, and this is one hell of a performance! I hear rumblings that it might come out on CD finally, after a decade of bugging John for it! This session was so hot, it just pummels you... delivery and recording wise! The band that night was John Blair - lead, Dave Wronski - rhythm, Nikki Syxx (Jeff Nicholson) - bass, and Dusty Watson - drums. Produced by John Blair & Thom Wilson (Mothers of Invention and a gaggle of Verve jazz artists during the sixties), it was recorded live at the Whiskey A Go Go - Hollywood on 1/10/81.
Picks: Rumble At Waikiki, Mr. Moto, Surf Party, The Nightrider, Surfin' and Spyin', Hawaii Five-0, Baja, Banzai Washout, Surf Jam, Pipeline, Church Key, Squad Car

Track by Track Review


Rumble At Waikiki dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song has all the right elements, from the thundering glissandoes to the pounding percussion. Great power and awesome delivery, with astounding style and abandon. This is one of John Blair's early originals. Totally infectious.

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a solid version of the Belairs classic. Great guitar work and authentic surf sound, with pumped drums and energy. An excellent performance!

Surf Party dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Astronauts theme from the film of the same name is presented in a fine performance and traditional arrangement. "Surf Party" is an enduring song, and at the hands of Jon and the Nightriders, it gets a new lease with punchy production and gutty surf ethics. Excellent!

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.

Surfin' and Spyin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Go-Go's groovy "Surfin' and Spyin'" is a natural for Jon and the Nightriders hard driving and rhythmic approach. Rock solid and reverent, it's much surfier than the original, and very infectious.

Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures' TV hit is all decked out in surfisms, played with lots of power and energy. "Hawaii Five-0" is gutsy and cool!

Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Easily my favorite track from the Whisky A Go-Go session, "Baja" is the first really powerful updating of this venerable Lee Hazelwood song made famous by the Astronauts. Pumped, powerful, dramatic, and over the top cool!

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.

Surf Jam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of a handful of instros from the Beach Boys, "Surf Jam" is a rhythmic pounder at the hands of Jon and the Nightriders.

Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one gusty performance of the Chantays' "Pipeline," with the speed and fire of the Lively Ones, only faster, and way more guts. Totally great!

Church Key dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fast and hot version of the Revels' great "Church Key." It sports all of the pump of the Trashmen, the humor of the Revels, and the reverb of the surf. Very nice track.

Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's great melody "Squad Car" is faster and more pumped up than the wonderful Eddie and the Showmen version. Lots of magnificent double picking and drums, and just too much surf coolness!