Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Nocturnes - Back To The Beachdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Nocturnes were a first wave surf band operating in the South Bay region of Southern California. Their vintage music was captured at Paul Johnson's garage studio in Redondo Beach back then, and has been issued on volume two of the Rare Surf series, reissued as American Surf Treasures. They were experimenting with space and tribal reverb, mixing in mariachi horns and Spanish themes. Today, with three original members, the band plays events with much the same sound as they had back in '63, but with a little less abandon and more precision. This CD sports seven fine surf instros and seven beach/surf vocals.

Vocals include: "Back To The Beach", "Runaround Sue", "Surfer Town", "California Sun", "Runaway", "Summertime Blues", and "Beach Band."
Picks: North Shore Rumble, (Ghost) Riders In The Sky, Mr. Moto, Storm Surf, Third Star From The Left, Apache, Baha Ree Ba 2000

Track by Track Review


North Shore Rumble dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"North Shore Rumble" is a Spanish flavored piece that features semi-gently double picked guitar and warm tone. The arrangement is well balanced and the melody pretty. An excellent original with staying power. Almost orchestral.

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky dotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Stan Jones' "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" finds new meaning in a surfy variation on the Ramrods' 1962 arrangement, chorus and all. Pretty fun.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Belairs' "Mr. Moto" (1961) is reverently played, with solid bass and drums, delicate reverbed guitar, and fine sax and piano a la early surf arrangements. Nicely done.

Storm Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Bruce McCoy original is shiny and windy, with a slightly sad adventurism and picturesque melody line. "Storm Surf" is a mid tempo track with significant appeal. Excellent.

Third Star From The Left dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This magnificent tune was originally cut by the Nocturnes in 1963 at Paul Johnson's PM Productions studio in Redondo Beach (Paul's garage). It's been covered by the Space Cossacks, but remains best at the hands of the originators. "Third Star From The Left" aka "Third Star To The Left" is less intense than the tribal vintage track, less like the Ventures' "Journey To the Stars" which influenced it, but is none the less a vital surf track. very cool.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Haunting wolf cries and Jorgen Ingman's flying arrow string swipes augment this fine reverent performance. Delicate and precise, "Apache" remains Jerry Lordan's best penning, and is finely cut here. The original variation on the break gives it a fresh face.

Baha Ree Ba 2000 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Nocturnes first recorded the Trademarks' "Baha Ree Bah" (1963) in '63. This updating is more reserved, yet remains vital and interesting. The more delicate approach yields the tune's flexibility, and gives it a cooler air.