Johnny & the Hurricanes were typical of the many landlocked instrumental R&B combos who were swept up in the surf craze of the early '60s. Based in Toledo, OH, and led by saxophonist Johnny Paris, the Hurricanes had virtually nothing in common with the reverb-drenched California surf sound, favoring instead a sort of raw, ragged frat-house R&B that was somewhat reminiscent of Junior Walker. This two-disc collection has everything you need, starting with the group's first hit, 1959's scorching "Crossfire," and two unlikely covers of an old folk tune, "Red River Valley" (done by the Hurricanes as "Red River Rock") and the minstrel song "Blue Tail Fly" (done as "Beatnik Fly"). A lot of the selections here draw on the same bag of tricks, but everything is so well executed that it hardly matters. This is indeed the definitive collection of this interesting combo.
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