Bonney & Buzz - Rock-Ola CD
Two UK guitar legends from the 60's are together for the first time on this fabulous new CD. "Rock-Ola" features Bill Bonney of The Fentones ("The Mexican" and "The Breeze & I") and Pete "Buzz" Miller ("Can Can 62" and "Totem Pole"). Buzz was also half of the Shig & Buzz project that released the CD "Double Diamonds" on Shag's Mai Tai Records label in the mid-90's. "Rock-Ola" contains twelve more "diamonds", with a smooth, deep Euro-instro sound not too removed from The Shadows, but dense with mystery and intrigue. This is their first release on Double Crown Records; it was later followed by their "Bang It Again" CD.
Tracks: The Sunburst Kid - Thunderbird Road - Drawn To The Sea - Summerstar - Bandido - Land Of The Blackhearts - Doodlebug - Bubble & Squeak - Cruise Six - Red Light Zone - Black Knickers - Electroglide.
Here's what the press has said about 'Rock-Ola':
Bonney & Buzz "Rock-Ola" (Double Crown Records) Anyone with even a vague awareness of rock and roll music already knows that England in the early sixties was where the action was. Which brings us to The Fentones and The Jaywalkers―two bands that were quite popular on the circuit back in the day. Bill Bonney played bass for The Fentones, while Pete Miller played guitar for The Jaywalkers.
Now fast forward to the present and we find Bill and Pete have joined forces as Bonney and Buzz, and in the process produced a first rate instrumental album. Propelled by clusters of ringing melodies and sheets of fluid guitar exercises, "Rock-Ola" tends to favor a strong Shadows influence. And that makes total sense, considering these fellows were boyhood idols of Bonney and Buzz. Carved of breezy rhythms and washes of wavy notes, "Drawn to the Sea" is charged with a seductive scent, "The Sunburst Kid" reels with infectious arrangements, "Cruiser Six" is equally catchy in all the right places, and "Bubble and Squeak" bubbles and squeaks with some of the coolest moves and grooves imaginable.
But each track on "Rock-Ola" is instantly memorable and stands out in its own special way. The tones are stirring and the moods are visual. Let's hope Bonney and Buzz continue working together in years to come. Their chemistry is flawless and their enthusiasm is electrifying.
--"Lance Records Magazine" by Beverly Paterson
I confess to ignorance of the illustrious pasts of Bill Bonney and Pete ‚Buzz“ Miller, who were part of two successful early ‘60’s British bands, The Fentones and The Jaywalkers. No Matter, this disc of deliciously retro rock instrumentals instantly brings me up to date (or back to the past). It’s all here: the lonely twangy guitar leads (Miller), insistent bass lines that alternately throb and sing (Bonney), bright melodies, solid hooks and a few slow dance numbers. There are plenty of cool guitar textures, thanks to copious overdubbing, but it all still feels like a band at work. There are echoes of artists such as The Ventures, Duane Eddy and other early sixties purveyors of instrumentals, but it’s not just nostalgia. The recording is crisp, clean and modern sounding, even with the occasional ladled-on reverb and some glorious tape hiss. A rollicking good time! Producer/engineer: Pete Miller. Studio: Ocean Beach (S.F). (January 2006)
--"Mix Magazine" by Blair Jackson
Bill Bonney, once bassist with the Fentones (Shane Fenton's backing band) and Peter "Buzz" Miller (Jaywalkers, Big Boy Pete) collaborated for this album in some ways to round out their sizable contributions to UK sixties instrumentals. It's a lush sounding disc with more romance than rock, and some really splendid playing. Overall, the sound is too much washed in reverb for my taste, but it does compliment the UK guitar sound well.
Picks: The Sunburst Kid, Thunderbird Road, Land Of The Blackhearts, Bubble and Squeak, Cruiser Six, Red Light Zone, Electroglide
"The Sunburst Kid" This is a very nicely done instrumental, with complimentary interplay between the two guitars, and a galloping beat. Fluid melody, Hawaiian steel, with moodiness and optimism coexisting. Quite nice.
"Thunderbird Road" has a traveling kind of feeling, with long sustain and fifties chordage. Aside from repetitious drums, this is a kind of haunting track with an intriguing sound.
"Drawn To The Sea" is a lush and pretty instrumental in the Shadows mature tradition. Low on energy because it's a flowing and sad song, it also has an atmospheric chemistry that ties it together.
"Summerstar" Hinting of "Summertime Blues," but with an entirely different melody, Summerstar is a light weight piece with long delayed guitar lines and a pop feel. Pretty and relaxing.
"Bandito" Dramatic and moody, this Shadows-like song is long on atmosphere and spatial width. It's very nice in the way only the Shadows' sound can produce. The chorus completes the genre's sound.
"Land Of The Blackhearts" With the sort of drama and sadness only spaghetti westerns can deliver, "Land Of The Blackhearts" plays out like a post-mortem scene with Morrecone-like depth. Very cool!
"Doodlebug" A term that was born of the thirties, "Doodlebug" seems an unlikely title for this decidedly UK sixties styled guitar instro. It's light weight and playful, and very nicely done.
"Bubble and Squeak" With a slow saunter and sunset sound, "Bubble and Squeak" grows on you like country music's Sunday picnic sounds. Quite enjoyable.
"Cruiser Six" A slow and very nicely played instro, "Cruiser Six" has a haunted sound that runs contrary to the lightness of the melody. It's a splendid song that's got a long-delay guitar happiness and soul.
"Red Light Zone" With the waterfront haunt of an Earl Hagen song like "Harlem Nocturne," though a little less epic, "Red Light Zone" slowly oozes the blue soul of the forgotten who wander under the street lights in the fog. Excellent.
"Black Knickers" A stop-start beat and melody line bumps along with an English instro sound and structure. I'm not sure why the title, but then again, why not!
"Electroglide" is a very haunting and romantic guitar instro that's very much in the Shadows' mold, with long delayed sustain and chamber reverb sound. Quite pretty.
--"Reverb Central" - by Phil Dirt (www.reverbcentral.com)
I know what you’re thinking - who the hell’s Bonney & Buzz? I thought exactly the same until I discovered they were none other than Bill Bonney from The Fentones and Pete 'Buzz' Miller from the Jaywalkers. What a combination! The Fentones have always been one of my favourite early 60’s British instrumental groups, with classics behind them such as 'The Mexican' and 'Just for Jerry'. Apart from their own independent success, they were of course, backing group to Shane Fenton and played on all of his hits including 'I’m a Moody Guy' and 'Cindy’s Birthday'. At the same time Pete Miller was recording for Joe Meek as lead guitarist for the Jaywalkers - they were always a bit too loud and raucous for me. That said, they were very popular and played a large part to RGM Sound. Bill and Pete first met back in 1962 when they appeared together on a Larry Parnes package tour, along with John Leyton, The Tornadoes, Eden Kane, Karl Denver and Joe Brown. 43 years later, the pair have teamed up, despite the fact that Bill lives in Canada and Pete lives in San Francisco.
This new 12 track CD was recorded in Pete’s studio. All recordings were written by Pete ('Black Stockings' was written by them both). The CD opens with 'The Sunburst Kid' - a good track that could have come from one of the Shadows EPs. Track 2 is better - 'Thunderbird Road' - oh dear, the Shadows come to mind again. 'Drawn to the Sea' is a lovely slow instro - it pictures images of surf and sun. I liked this one very much. 'Summerstar' starts off with a very similar backing to 'Something Else' by Eddie Cochrain - these tracks are so different to Pete’s recordings with the Jaywalkers. 'Bandido' is next. I love this track, with its haunting backing vocals. It brings to mind the ‘spaghetti westerns’ (which is probably why I like it so much). Track 6 is 'Land of the Blackhearts' - I liked this too. 'Doodlebug' didn’t do anything for me - a nondescript number. Ditto tracks 8 and 9. 'Red Light Zone' is a good atmospheric number, and it certainly suggests images of prostitutes standing in dodgy alleyways, smoking and parading. Sorry to say that Bill’s only contribution to this CD is a bit of a let-down. The final track is 'Electroglide', and with this, Santo and Johnny come to mind. My favourite on ths CD is 'Bandido' - you can almost picture Lee Van Cleef riding off into the sunset.
--"Thunderbolt Magazine" - Mark Newson
Peter Buzz Miller, the director of the Audio Institute of America in San Francisco, has a funny little secret. He was a busy musician in the sixties in England, even recording with Joe Meek and a young Eddie Kramer (at Pye). He was in The Offbeats, The Jaywalkers and did psychedelic recordings under the name Big Boy Pete. Bill Bonney played in The Fentones back in the day, and stumbled across his old tour mate of forty years ago online recently. So what did they do? They met up in SF and record an album of cool rock guitar instrumentals at Buzz’s all analog studio. I rarely do this, but here’s a list of relevant gear from Buzz:
1958 Fender Bandmaster (with three 10“ speakers mic’ed with a Reslo ribbon and SM57. 1962 Fender Stratocaster with flatwound strings. MCI 1“ 8-track. Otari MTR90 II 2“ 16-track. Ampex 44-B 2-track (for mixdown). Soundcraft Series 600 console. RCA New-Orthophonic Hi-Fidelity preamplifier. (1956) Humbert Humbert equalizer. (1962). Goobly Box (FX). (1963). De Armonde 610 foot pedal (1962). Apollo compressor-limiter. (1969). Binson Echorec (1964)). Ampex 350 (monophonic/full track) for 15 and 7.5 slapback. (1958). Watkins Copycat. (1960). Farfisa spring reverb. (1964). More than a few Boddingtons beers.
Notice the flatwound strings - important for vintage guitar sounds I’ve found. The music is reminiscent of The Tornadoes or Shadows - cool stuff. (www.dblcrown.com).
--"Tape-Op Magazine" - Sept. 2005 - by Larry Crane
Rocky: Beautiful chill-out surf music. Excellent arranging, superb musicianship, amazing tones. This record is a must have!
Rocky II: Duane Eddie meets Santo & Johnny. Sweet experiments in badass bass & baritone. Awesome!
Rocky III: Nice! The songs are classic and tell a great story without words.
Rocky IV: A sizzling Morricone instrumental soundtrack for your life. Fucking rocks.
Bonney & Buzz -- Rock-Ola Admirateurs des Shadows, cette reusion de deux anciens pionniers des 60's est pour vous. Le son est garanti d'origine et les instrumentaux s'enchainent sans surprise majeure. Ces madelaines rock 'n' roll ont un parfum electrique (110v) delicieusement desuet.
--"Le Cri Du Coyote" Magazine