Mr Moto: The Origins of Surf Music 1960-1963

MR 388LP MR 388LP

Although their official output was very limited, The Belairs were one of the key bands in the birth of surf music. They spawned an influential musical legacy, paved the way for many other surf bands and their members went on to other famous outfits such as The Standells, Eddie & The Showmen, and The Challengers. Mr Moto: The Origins of Surf Music 1960-1963 gathers their 1961 hit "Mr Moto" and other studio and home recordings. The story of The Belairs started in 1959 in South Bay, Los Angeles. The first line-up consisted of Eddie Bertrand (guitar), Paul Johnson (guitar), Chas Stuart (saxophone), Richard Delvy (drums), and Jim Roberts (piano). Surf music was in its infancy as instrumental music fusing early rock with Middle Eastern, Mexican and Hawaiian touches. Playing fast, melodic scales and dealing with the use of reverb, it was a truly innovative sound. Dick Dale, The Ventures, and Duane Eddy hit the venues and airwaves. In this context, Bertrand and Johnson honed their trademark dual-guitar sound. Creating a unique sound to make their strings reverberate, the band signed with the Arvee label, which released Mr Moto in 1961, a surf-rock song with a flamenco-inspired intro. Their sound didn't have -- at least during this first phase -- a bass player. The bass-less structure worked in their favor, giving a special character to all the guitar nuances. Their short and successful career (not in terms of sales but in opening doors for other surf groups) was destined to produce only one more official single, with a different line-up. Their second single, Volcanic Action/Runaway (included here), was not even officially released. The band had some line-up changes, including adding a bass player, Steve Lotto, and new members like drummer Dickie Dodd and guitarist Art Fisher. This collection also includes four tracks recorded while The Belairs were without a record label. Songs like the propulsive "Chiflado", the danceable rock and roll "Duck Waddle", the swinging, jazzy "The Shimmy", and the hypnotic "Squad Car" prove the quality of the band's repertoire. In 1963, the instrumental fever gave its way to the explosion of the vocal surf music and success of the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, and popsters such as Frankie Avalon and Fabian mixing the surf aura with a more pop approach. Curiously, Johnson was invited to join The Beach Boys, but he declined the offer, staying firm in his convictions. Includes CD with 12 bonus tracks.