Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jody Reynolds - Endless Sleepdotdotdotdot
artworkIn 1954, Jody Reynolds (guitar and vocals), Billy Ray (country vocals and guitar) and Al Casey (lap steel) teamed up as Billy Ray and the Red Wagon Boys. Jody heard Elvis, and ditched the country sound for rock 'n' roll. He wrote "Endless Sleep" in 1956, but didn't release it until 1958 on the Demon label. He also issued the fantastic "Thunder" c/w "Tarantula" single as the Storms. It was with Al Casey that his sound evolved, and it was Al's big guitar that later influenced Duane Eddy's tone as well. It's debatable whether Al developed his sound with the Storms or Duane Eddy, since they were contemporaries and Al worked with both. What's clear is that Al Casey behind Jody Reynolds was an unbeatable combination. His sound was mean and haunted, tortured and honest. Like a low down Duane Eddy with vocals. This is a great release, one that I've been waiting for decades.
Picks: Thunder, Tarantula, Makin' Out, Shot Down

Track by Track Review


Thunder dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With the manic energy if a less than correctly wired board rider in storm surf, this track angrily disorients the listener with a defined reality filter. Intense and nervous. "Thunder" was one of the singles that inspired the first generation of surfbands, from Paul Johnson onward.

Tarantula dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is Jody Reynolds' band. Their most familiar instro is "Thunder," which is a pretty straight Duane Eddy-Al Casey styled number. "Tarantula" is much more moody, with that same low-E guitar grumble and a nasty sax in the break. Excellent pre-surf from 1959

Makin' Out dotdotdotdotdot
Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Whoa! This is major pre surf twang. It's nastier than the Storms single, more rhythmic and pumped, less rich. It's downright sensual. Yikes! Makes you wanna go in the back seat with your baby... Plas Johnson plays sax with the Storms on this track.

Shot Down dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Like a Mexican cantina that features cannelloni, this very pretty number reminds me of some of the Farina brothers' writing, a bit of the Buddy Merrill styling, and slinky Latin quarter sensuality. A nice tune, moody, mystical, and smooth. Like a Jim Thomas construction, this moodily meanders through some interesting guitar tones and shimmering delicate melody ideas, displaying island visions and wahine sway.