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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Music Reviews »

Permalink Stand Up, Stand Up for P.J. - A Tribute to Paul "Mr. Moto" Johnson

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I've been listening a LOT to the recent tribute to Paul Johnson - one of the true originators of surf music, as most of my FB friends will already well know, as well as an immensely kind and generous human being who is currently undergoing recovery from bone marrow surgery. You may have seen that there was a recent fund-raising concert for him in Long Beach, CA. In connection to that, the legendary guitar and music journalist AND highly talented musician in his own right, Dan Forte AKA Teisco Del Rey, pulled together this tribute in order to raise more money for PJ. I've talked about and advertised this tribute album on multiple occasions on my FB page, partly because The Madeira was greatly honored to be included on it, but I just wanted to mention a bit more now about how incredible I think the music on here really is. I can honestly say that there's not a single weak track here, and there are many, MANY truly outstanding ones!

Being a tribute to PJ it unsurprisingly features mostly his songs, but there are three exceptions: The Surfrajettes, Dead Men Don't Surf and The Texas Air National Guitars contributed original tracks, "Mrs. Moto", "P.J.'s Woodie", and "Stand Up, Stand Up for PJ" (the comp title), respectively. The first is an ultra-trad midtempo track that could be a lost Belairs track (from their later Eddie-with-reverb period Big Grin ). The second track features the (al)mighty Dusty Watson on drums and Ron Eglit on guitar and bass, both of them of course long-time veterans of the surf scene and in particular of Dick Dale's band. The track itself is a driving number with a beautiful, slightly dark melody with multiple little nods to Paul's classic songs and phenomenal drum solo in the middle. This is really one of my favorites on the whole CD, especially as it was a true surprise - I knew about the band but had never heard any of their recordings (in fact, I'm not even sure they have any others). The third track has Dan AKA Teisco on lead (maybe he wrote this song, too?) but also features an Austin,TX-all-star lineup with in particular the amazing Lisa Pankratz on drums, but also the mighty David Grissom (John Mellencamp, Joe Ely) playing the first guitar solo and absolutely killing it in his usual signature style!

Of the cover tracks, it's a true cornucopia: Slacktone (SLACKTONE!) doing "The Crawler", two by Teisco Del Rey (the big ones, "Mr. Moto" and "Squad Car", both done in faithful-yet-fresh, slightly rearranged ways), and the legendary Insect Surfers with "Armor Of Light" from Paul's "Guitar Heaven" album, sounding like the song was tailor-made for them with that highly distinctive dual-lead sound. We also have the reigning SoCal trad-kings The Volcanics doing a faithful and vibrant version of "Tally Ho", which I love!; and John Blair (Jon and the Nightriders, of course) and Marty Tippens (a man of many, many talents and long-time participant in the SoCal surf music scene), playing "Andele" as an acoustic duo, and making it sound so, so beautiful, another one of my highlights from the album!

There were two wonderful surprises, too: Mike Vernon (of 3 Balls of Fire) doing "Birdland" entirely on his own, with just regular and baritone guitars, an unassuming little tune that i've come to really love due to Mike's beautiful and sensitive playing (I wasn't actually previously familiar with this track); and finally, "Vamanos" by Joao Erbetta (solo jazz/blues/surf career) and Pete Curry (Los Straitjackets, The Halibuts, many MANY others!) that owes more than a bit to one of Paul's greatest influences, George Tomsco & the Fireballs, and that is played with so much joy and verve that you can't help but dance along - or at least vigorously tap your foot, sway and nod! Big Grin Another phenomenal track!

I've grown to truly love this comp. There was obviously a lot of love that went into it, and you can feel it in every track on here, but even more than that - it's just plain GOOD! No surf music fan will be disappointed by this, I can guarantee it! AND you can't hear it anywhere online, which is also GOOD - you gotta buy the darn CD, the proceeds of which will go to Paul (all of them)! To order a copy for yourself, either send a check for $20 (shipping included) to Dan Forte, 211 W. Columbia St., Weatherford, TX 76086 (make it out to "Dan Forte F.B.O. Paul Johnson"), or PayPal $20 to

Really, this is such a win-win that I hope you order your copy IMMEDIATELY, RIGHT...NOW..., if you haven't already! Stop whatever else you may have been doing and do THIS - you WILL thank me later! (Oh, I should also add that I'm pretty darn proud of the Madeira's version of "Lanky Bones", which we loved learning and recording - and are now playing at our shows!) Thank you so VERY MUCH, Dan, for pulling this comp together and doing such a great job with it - AND for inviting us to be part of it!

All our best wishes to Paul, and deep, deep thanks for all the remarkable music he's given us so far! Can't wait to see you again at an upcoming SG101 Convention, strolling in front of the stage with a big smile on your face!


The Madeira Official Website
The Madeira on Facebook
The Blair-Pongracic Band on Facebook
The Space Cossacks on Facebook
The Madeira Channel on YouTube

Last edited: Feb 03, 2019 15:25:28

Sorry to here about Paul Johnson being sick

He was nice enough to answer a email I sent to his web site once - must have been 10 years ago now. I asked if he played Mr. Moto the same way as on the original 1960 recording. He said he couldn't remember because it was so long ago and Eddie Bertrand played the lead anyway. He said he had to relearn the song after many years of not playing it. But he said he thought I could be right it was played different - because you can play the same notes on different parts of the neck etc..He said he played it the easy way for him.

I thought something happened when I saw the tribute concert on YouTube much like they had when Eddie Bertrand was sick etc...awl I hope he gets better. What will we do without Mr. Moto.

Bills pile up while in the hospital can be thousands a day so I understand the need to help. I was in twice and that's enough for me. I saw this video from 2018. Help out PJ we owe him.

Get well soon Mr. Johnson

Last edited: Jan 23, 2019 00:06:51

This is a very nice review, thank you Ivan!

Are people who purchased through PayPal actually getting the CD?

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

Brian wrote:

This is a very nice review, thank you Ivan!

Are people who purchased through PayPal actually getting the CD?

Yup, I got mine just the other day. It took a while for the response via email, but it came and I got my CD.

The Mystery Men?
El Capitan and The Reluctant Sadists
SSS Agent #31

Still waiting for my copy... no response from Mr. Forte.

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

Brian, I poked Dan Forte on your behalf. Your CD is on its way and should arrive soon.

Thanks John!!! Worship

Will post my thoughts when I get it and digest it!

Site dude - S3 Agent #202
Need help with the site? SG101 FAQ - Send me a private message - Email me

"It starts... when it begins" -- Ralf Kilauea

While you're at it, Brian, a few thoughts about the "Reverb Nation" CD would be good, too. We never heard from you on this one.

Brian wrote:

Still waiting for my copy... no response from Mr. Forte.

As am I...


Dan/Teisco said he mailed out the last batch this past week.
Please post here if you still don't get them, and I'll let him know.


Last edited: May 21, 2019 14:19:41

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