Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Best 60s Surf Band You Never Heard

The Jokers were a great Belgium instrumental group that played a lot of surf music but much more. They were on a par with The Ventures, and truth be known, they were probably a little bit better. The band formed in 1959, but it was when the great 15 year old guitarist, Ronny Sigo, joined the band in 1962 that things really took off. All of these guys were really young actually, but Ronny Sigo simply had no peer when it came to the 60s surf guitar sound. It's a shame that he's almost completely unknown outside of Belgium (and Japan) where he still performs as Ronny Sigo and The Jokers. (He's the only original member left.)

Something very original that Ronny Sigo did was his use of a volume pedal to do swells with. He was doing this extensively as far back as 1964 long before any other guitarist was using one or manipulating the knob on their guitar. What's more, he used it very melodically. (You can hear him using one in the video of Tabou listed below, but you never see it in the video since they're just faking it, playing along with a recording.)

They're playing Sabre Dance here circa 1964:

Here they are performing Hully Gully.

Here they play Tabou.