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Merrell Fankhauser Video Review
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2000-01-30
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An Interview with Nicky Hopkins

Who hasn't heard of this guy? He has played with Jeff Beck, The Stones and everyone else you could possibly think of, a virtual who's who of Rock and Roll. Nicky passed away in '94 leaving behind a legacy of musical contributions that will not be forgotten. This interview and jam session aired 1991-95 and nationally to 150 stations via satellite.

Merrell Fankhauser conducts a splendid interview with Nicky on his show "California Music" in 1991. Nicky talks about his diverse and interesting career which took off in the early sixties in England. Hopkins and Fankhauser mention the fact that the music they made still stands up well today and they didn't have all the technologies at hand to fabricate any sounds, they had to be very good at what they did or else the music wouldn't come out sounding so good. There is a lot of truth to what they had to say!

After going over various aspects of Hopkin's career with some interesting questions and input from Merrell-Nicky, Roger Capps (Pat Benatar Bass player) and Merrell launch into a jam session that is an absolute joy to hear and view. They all look as though they are having a ball! They do a few blues standards and all the while Hopkins is banging away on the keyboard he is howling and barking like a dog, and they are all laughing, it's just a great thing to see. A magical moment in time captured on video. Once all that is over Merrell sings his tribute "Nicky's Song", which is a very touching number about his friend and fellow musician. This one's a keeper.

A Day In Paradise

The title says it all, "A Day In Paradise". The period covered is 1979-82. It aired on Hawaiian TV 1983 - 84 and then nationally in 1990 several times up to 1995. With all the great music that is performed on this video the surrounding scenery just enhances the entire experience. The trip to Maui seen through Merrell and his band's eyes is sweet candy for the soul, a complete multimedia experience for the eyes and ears. The impact of the music alone is tremendous then the added aspects of the pristine backgrounds just give it a special air of freshness and beauty that is hard to put into words. Mountains, majestic waterfalls and the bluer than blue Hawaiian surf. All those factors gives it enough visual and auditory magic to make it an experience beyond compare. There are some really great shots of wind surfers on this video that makes the tropical island theme exciting and adds to the already visually pleasing excursion. Everything fits like a glove. Soothing and spiritual. Very nice.

California Surf Music

Dig surf music? Boy are you in for a treat with this video! The clips on this video were taken from Merrell Fankhauser's TV show California Surf Music from 1991-95. There is an interview with Dick Dale were he states that he originated the "Surf Sound". I would be willing to bet there are plenty of people out there that would beg to differ on that statement. In fact several well known artists agree with me that it was The Ventures and The Fireballs that started the instro/surf genre. Let's hear some feedback on that point of interest!

Then there is a Mike Love interview at his home. The Mermen, The Revels, The Impacts jamming...it just goes on and on! And the Ventures, wow! what a surprise that was. They are all freaked out and dressed in drag like glam rockers doing "Wipe Out 2000" complete with a gorgeous blonde babe in her thong, whew!. I felt like I was transported back in time to the exciting time of the 60's when all of this started. You will get a good dose of reverb and have a great time watching some of those great groups from that time period perform some of their big hits. This is a fun and rollicking good time. That's what surf music is all about!

Groups in order of appearance on Video:

The Impacts-"Sleepwalk"
The Impacts-"Hangin' Out"
Dick Dale-Surf Medley and Interview
The Revels-Interview and "Church Key"
Jon Blair-Interview and "Ready Steady"
Bob Dalley-Interview
The Mermen-"Soul Surfin"
Sprague Brothers-"Bolsa Chica"
The Ventures-"Wipe Out"
The Revels-"Wipe Out"
The Impacts-"Fort Lauderdale"
Martin Brown-Interview
The Impacts-"Grover Beach"
Mike Love-Interview
The Impacts-"Wave Snake"


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