Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Kayama Yuzo with Nokie Edwards - Livedotdotdotdot
artworkKayama Yuzo with Nokie Edwards Live is the CD companion release to an illusive but essential DVD. Subtitled Eternal Guitar Kids Akasaka Blitz, this CD includes live performances from Kayama Yuzo and Hyper Launchers, Naka Shigeo of The Surf Coasters, The Ventures, and the Dr. K. Project. The album was recorded on August 19th, 1998 at Akasaka Blitz, and issued in 1999 in Japan. This is 35 years on for Kayama Yuzo, Nokie Edwards, and The Ventures, but they still rock.

Shigeo Naka and Hyper Launchers performance of "Miserlou" is essential listening!
Picks: Crazy Driving, Let's Go, Rap City, Paradise A Go Go, Buger And Noodle, Secret Agent Man, I've Got A Woman, Bob Bogle Medley, Diamond Head - Pipeline, Black Sand Beach, Driving Guitars, Yellow Jacket, Misirlou, Shonan Boogie, Caravan

Track by Track Review


Crazy Driving dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Kayama Yuzo and Hyper Launchers
The introductory chords are giant whammy wonders of drama and darkness. "Crazy Driving" is drenched in glissandos and sophistication, and sports a Ventures-like melody line and lead tone, though the melody is also steeped in Japanese traditions.

Let's Go dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Kayama Yuzo and Hyper Launchers
The Routers' "Let's Go" is done the fun way that The Ventures have always done it, but with Kayama Yuzo's unmistakable style. Shouts of "let's go" complete the picture.

Rap City dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Kayama Yuzo and Hyper Launchers
Johannes Sebastian Brahms' "Hungarian Rhapsody" was a stroke of genius when The Ventures reinvented it for the surf idiom. Kayama Yuzo and Hyper Launchers play it in their arrangement, more or less, and add his wonderful sense of humor. He also brings in more of the original, and play a slower verse too, giving it a very original arrangement.

Paradise A Go Go dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Kayama Yuzo and Hyper Launchers
"Paradise A Go Go" ("Stranger In Paradise") is based on The Ventures arrangement, which they titled "Ten Seconds To Heaven." This is heavier, but retains their gorgeous sensibilities. A pure pleasure!

The melody is extracted from Alexander Borodin's 1869 composition "Gliding Dance of the Maidens" from the "Polovetsian Dances." This is stunningly cool!

Buger And Noodle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Kayama Yuzo and Hyper Launchers and Nokie Edwards
This is a very nicely arranged and played song. It's pace is medium, and it's sound born of the country guitar sound of Nokie Edwards. Lots of precision and charm here!

Secret Agent Man dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nokie Edwards and Dr. K Project
Nokie Edwards front the Dr. K Project for a slightly countrified romp through P. F. Sloane's spy theme. Some of the guitar lines are simply beautiful. While this is not a particularly notable arrangement, the musicianship is beyond reproach.

I've Got A Woman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nokie Edwards and Dr. K Project
This is an upbeat fun country romp. Ray Charles' "I've Got A Woman" is nothing if not fun. Splendid picking and flair. It makes you wanna get out your corn cob pipe!

Bob Bogle Medley dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures
Beginning with "Walk Don't Run," this splendid journey through The Ventures back pages is just so well done. Included are "Raw-Hide," "Torquay," "Work Song," "Chain Gang" comes along, as do "Mr. Moto," "Comin' Home Baby," "Besame Mucho," "Rap City," "Bumble Bee," "Green Hornet," "Perfidia," and "Blue Moon." An epic summary.

Walk Don't Run '64 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures
"Walk Don't Run '64" is very nicely done, but for my money falls really short of the 1964 track. A splendid performance, just not a particularly outstanding version of the song.

Diamond Head - Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures
This is an exceptionally nice performance of these two venerable instros, one from the pen of Danny Hamilton, and the other from The Chantays. It's not particularly surfy from an aural standpoint, but t is definitely cool.

Black Sand Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures and Kayama Yuzo
Yuzo Kayama and the Launchers' signature instro "Black Sand Beach" is very fine from a performance perspective. Dryer and less edgy than the original recording, but superb nonetheless. There are some really nice guitar warbles and gritty glissandos, and the eleki sense of twang is retained.

Driving Guitars dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures and Kayama Yuzo
Kayama Yuzo sits in on lead with The Ventures for a rousing performance of "Driving Guitar." The deluxe muted light touch glissandos give this real charm.

Yellow Jacket dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures and Kayama Yuzo
Often covered outside surf circles, The Ventures' "Yellow Jacket" is a natural vehicle for Kayama Yuzo's excellent playing as he takes the lead here.

Misirlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Naka Shigeo and Hyper Launchers
It's surf guitar hero time as Naka Shigeo of the Surf Coasters rips through a stunning performance of Nicolas Roubanis' classic melody. Big fire and flash, and more Dick Dale than Dick himself. Based on the Surfers Choice recording, this is an epic recording clocking it at four minutes and forty-five seconds of pure vintage surf. All I can say is, this is essential listening!

Shonan Boogie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Kayama Yuzo and Hyper Launchers and Nokie Edwards and Naka Shigeo
Kayama Yuzo and Nokie Edwards trade lead duty on "Shonan Boogie," with Naka Shigeo flashing on a verse too. While this is pretty jammy, it sure does rock in that classic rock'n'roll encore kinda way.

Caravan dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Kayama Yuzo and Hyper Launchers and Nokie Edwards and Naka Shigeo and Dr. K Project
The audience brings the whole crew back for a stellar encore comprised on one song rocked out for seven and a half minutes. Every musician on the show plays on this track, and it creates a giant wall of guitars and rhythm. Two drummers, six guitars, two basses, and no shortage of talent! Shigeo Naka sure does stand out, though I must say that the entire track rips - even the drum solos.