Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jon and the Nightriders - Movin' Targetdotdotdotdotdot
artworkAlways worth the wait., a new Jon & the Nightriders album heralds hours of great listening and crunchy tone. John Blair's guitar sound is very identifiable and his playing totally solid. His rhythm section (Dave Wronski - Slacktone, Dusty Watson - Slacktone, Agent Orange, Dick Dale, and Pete Curry - Halibuts, Los Straitjackets, etc.) are without equal. Get it, it rips!
Picks: Moving Target, Trailblazer, Molokai Cocktail, Rik-A-Tik, Twitchin', Thunder Over Rincon, Diamond Head, Grommet, Shake-N-Stomp, Dark Eyes, Slither, Stringer, Cabazon, Be My Baby / Don't Worry Baby, Sleigh Ride

Track by Track Review

Moving Target dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spunk personified! The title track is more than splendid, it rages and shimmers and infects. Too fun, too spiffy, and way too crunchy. Machine guns and short boards, trad with shredding chunk. Totally tubular (sorry John, I could resist the phrase here)!

Trailblazer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Warm, slightly countrified, rockabilly underpinnings, surf beat, and spirited. The friendly melody and snare attack create a driving power that carries you away. Excellent.

Molokai Cocktail dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Molokai Cocktail" is a very enjoyable and infectious track. John Blair's sense of structure is unsurpassed, and his sense of drama in the arrangement is also spot-on. The organ supports the sound well. Solid surf thunder, crispy surf riff, warm surf images... get the picture?

Rik-A-Tik dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a solid nod to the Fireballs' original, this sports damped second guitar and warm southwest tone, plus John Blair and Dave Wronski's crunch. What a fine track. It doesn't stray far from the original, yet the uniqueness are precisely enough to make this a Jon and the Nightriders track.

Twitchin' dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Soest's (Torquays) excellent surf tune is given the crunch treatment, with warm whammy second guitar and lots of energy. This band is a perfect vehicle for Soest's writing. The combination of the cool riff and the precision and power of Jon and the Nightriders is perfect.

Thunder Over Rincon dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the first studio outing for Jon and the Nightriders' incredible "Thunder Over Rincon." It is exactly that, a thundering ominous rumbler of a tune, gutsy and dark. John Blair's creativity is, as always, strident. His skill at generating genre-perfect instros on the dark power side of the aisle is without compare. Mean track.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Beyond precise, John Blair's guitar tone and Dusty Watson's drums take this beyond just a cover of the Ventures. Infectious and powerful.

Grommet dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Words like "wingnut" and "grommet" bring images of useless or bogus people to mind. This is somewhat whimsical, and very fun. The melody is strong, and well accented with whammy.

Shake-N-Stomp dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale originated this over thirty five years ago. Jon and the Nightriders bring it into the modern era with thundering and racing attack, and a fine balance between the two guitars. Bravo! Best cover of it yet. Power-driven intense delivery!

Dark Eyes dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The eastern European standard, covered occasionally by surf bands and often by Shadows clones, this rendition is pristinely played and reverby, with reverence to the folk tune of old and the curl as well. Crunchy and playful.

Slither dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and whammy dipped, this surf riff tune is reminiscent of the Surf Kings' version of the Crossfires' "Fiberglass Jungle." It is more surfy and less psych than that tune, but has the same kind of warmth and charm. Quite enjoyable.

Stringer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby Fuller's surf riff tune, with excellent damped surf reverb and warm chords. The rolling beat and relentless rumble create a real sense of the beak. About the best cover of this tune.

Cabazon dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very tasty second guitar under a fine Latin melody line. Mid tempo fluid delivery, and an infectious rhythm. The more I listen to this, the more I like it. It has a friendly air, a mystique of tropical beaches and Mexican villages, and a tango sense. Very cool!

Be My Baby / Don't Worry Baby dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Really, the Phil Spector tunes. No Ronnettes, just gorgeous surf guitar. I'd have never thought of doing this tune in a surf style, but here it is, and it works really well. The strings are too cool. Gentle and warm.

Sleigh Ride dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures "Walk Don't Run" arrangement, surfed up, speedily played, and way too cool for the summer. This will surely light your tree. Crunchy and more fun than Santa is allowed.