Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jon and the Nightriders - Surf Beat '80dotdotdotdotdot
artworkDecades in the making, Jon and the Nightriders finally reissued Surf Beat '80. Just minutes after the launch of the surf revival in 1979, John Blair caught the fancy of punks and rockers alike, and turned that into this album. Impossible to find on original vinyl, bonus tracks make this even more enticing. Essential surf!
Picks: Banzai Washout, Kamikaze, Bombora, Riptide, Rumble At Waikiki, Mr. Moto, Surf Beat, Depth Charge, The Force Of Gravity, Latin'ia, Bombay Beach, Super Jet Rumble, Baja, Moment Of Truth, Surfari, Journey To The Stars, Over The Rainbow, The Truant, Surf Rider, Suicide Bay

Track by Track Review


Banzai Washout dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Stunningly hot version of the Catalinas classic, written by the late sax session player Steve Douglas. Jon and the Nightriders understand the rippin' part of the original version, and apply adequate rip to it. Great!

Kamikaze dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's classic tune, replicated well. Jon and the Nightriders have the sound down and recreate the surf experience fully on tracks like this. Nice performance.

Bombora dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Original Surfaris song is performed with fire and spunk in the less reverby style of the original. A hot performance and rippin' track!

Riptide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Impact V did this originally. John Blair has made it his own with an impressive performance that keeps the infectiousness of the original. Excellent!

Rumble At Waikiki dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Damn tight version of Paul Johnson's signature tune. Perfect!

Surf Beat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surf Beat" defines the genre in its formative first few months. This version is true to form. Strong rhythm and percussion, and the classic period sound.

Depth Charge dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

John Blair'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.

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!

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.

Super Jet Rumble dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Yikes! This is another of my faves from the old days. I love the Breakers's original, and Jon and the Nightriders have ratcheted it up a notch from there. Infectious, melodic, powerful, and bitchin'!

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a good solid version of the great standard, always a pleasure to hear. Rock solid.

Moment Of Truth dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Original Surfaris' signature tune driven in the Jon and the Nightriders signature style and sound. Not just another cover, "Moment Of Truth" solidly pounds the shore with mighty power and glissandos and Dave Wronski's (Slacktone) string swiping power notes. Totally great!

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.

Journey To The Stars dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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

Over The Rainbow dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a serious version of Judy Garland's "Over The Rainbow" done as if it was written for a surfband! You might expect a bit of goofiness, but you'd be wrong. Whammy, double picking, and a solid delivery. Right out of surfdom, with a grin, but not a laugh!

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. Chunky with great reverb!

Surf Rider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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

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.