Monday, July 22, 2013

The Bel Airs - Origins Of Surf Music (1960-63)




One of the very first instrumental surf combos, this Southern California group recorded one of the first big regional surf hits, "Mr. Moto." Its heavily reverbed guitar lines, distinct Mexican melodic influence, and honking sax helped set the prototype for hundreds of songs that would be recorded in the next two to three years. None of the other material the group recorded in the early '60s was as successful or memorable. Guitarist Paul Johnson was still active decades later, while guitarist Eddie Bertrand went on to form the surf band Eddie & the Showmen.

Compilation of rare sides, including early home demos featuring nothing more than two guitars, and later sessions cut at L.A.'s famed Gold Star Studios in 1963. Interesting as a document of some of the very first surf recordings, but not terribly interesting in and of itself -- "Mr. Moto" (two versions included here) towers over everything else. Comes with an extensively annotated booklet by founding member Paul Johnson.



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