Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jerry MacNeish - Plays The Fireballsdotdotdot
artworkIssued in 1986, this album was a labor of love dedicated to the Fireballs and the Norman Petty studio where their sound was captured and shaped. Jerry MacNeish plays all of the instruments, except for some piano support from Bill Pratt and Vi Petty. It was the sound of the Fireballs more than any other band that layed the fopundation for the surf sound to come.
Picks: Fireball, Chief Whoopin-Koff, A Guy Ranchero, Drum Riot, Panic Button, El Ringo, Tuff-A-Nuff, Almost Paradise, Torquay Two, Dumbo, Bandit Boy, Bulldog, Rik-A-Tik, Vaquero, Gunshot, Almost Paradise

Track by Track Review


Fireball dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

Infectious, accurate right down to the chamber reverb. This namesake tune from the target band here is down right joyous. The gutsy inspired playing is clearly reverent.

Chief Whoopin-Koff dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

This is pretty close to the original, but has less charm, and more edge. Twango deluxe.

A Guy Ranchero dotdot
MOR Lounge (Instrumental)

MOR instro for the lounge set. This song cries out for a good arrangement by some surf band.

Drum Riot dotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

Miss-named, this track is neither riotous, or drum oriented, though it does have a pedestrian drum break in it. I didn't care much for the original either.

Panic Button dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

Accurate, clean, and a labor of love. Plucky, light weight, fifties guitar fluff. It's a song begging for a gutsy delivery. This performance is precise, and very listenable.

El Ringo dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This infectious rhythm based song has long been one of my favorite Fireballs tunes. This cover is very pure, and nearly equals the original. I have always particularly liked the chunky bridge. Good job, Jerry.

Tuff-A-Nuff dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

A plucky plodding thing more indicative of an Elmer Fudd pseudo cool than a "tuff" character in the fifties sense of the slang. It has a cool, infectious, juvenile (as in innocent) feel to it. A nice track

Almost Paradise dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Written in the Adventures In Paradise mold by Norman Petty, this is a pretty true to the source nod to the Fireballs. Very pretty, melodic, islandic, and flowing. This is not quite as interesting as Splashback's version, but is a good listen.

Torquay Two dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

This is thee Fireballs tune. This is very respectful and accurate performance, clean, almost to perfect.

Dumbo dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

This is and has been my favorite Fireballs tune, infectious, happy, quirky, and very well written. Simplicity perfected. This performance is right in the pocket, as they say. very nice.

Bandit Boy dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

A splendid Mexican flavored number with a catchy progression, and a solid arrangement.

Bulldog dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs issued this and had a minor hit with it. It's from the pen of George Tomsco. It depends on the chunky rhythm to carry it off. It's not as chunky as the original, but it does the trick none the less. A solid nod to the Norman Petty sound.

Rik-A-Tik dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

Like the original, this is much less powerful than the Lively Ones' version, demonstrating the power of precise rhythms. The melody nearly dances off the guitar, and the backtrack is perfect. Solid.

Vaquero dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

Another border influenced tune, like a faster "Yacky Doo," with more magnetism. The sound is light, but the track is darn nice.

Gunshot dotdotdot
Fireballs Guitar (Instrumental)

You'd expect a heavier sound from a title such as this. It's more like "Bulldog" than a gun shot. A simple effective progression delivers a fine tune.

Almost Paradise dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Written in the Adventures In Paradise mold by Norman Petty, this is a pretty true to the source nod to the Fireballs. Very pretty, melodic, islandic, and flowing. This is not quite as interesting as Splashback's version, but is a good listen.