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John Paul Jones - Baja c/w A Foggy Day In Vietnamdot
artworkFuture Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones recorded this lifeless version of "Baja" in 1964. It's historically interesting for a couple of reasons beyond just the Zep connection. It is also a clear illustration of how misunderstood surf was in the UK in the sixties. The backdrop of the Shadows and the small combo sound of the UK, both wonderful in their own rite, were completely at odds with the whole concept of surf. Unlike Australia, the genre was lost in translation, and the major label influence on the arrangement was the final straw. Listening to this reminds me of the early experiments the CIA conducted in machine translation between Russian and English. The test phrase "the flesh is weak, but the spirit is strong" kept coming back "the meat is rotten, but the vodka is good!"
Picks: Baja

Track by Track Review

Baja dot
UK Guitar (Instrumental)

While slow delicate covers of "Baja" can work really well, John Paul Jones takes it to the max with all soul drained out and anything remotely resembling surf destroyed. Big horn bridge and a low key performance. Low-low guitar and odd tambourine. Really pompous.