Johnny Salton and the Reactions' The Reactions Love You

The Reactions

The Reactions Love You

(Reaction Records)

While we're all still reeling from Johnny Salton's passing, I have to admit that it has been a real pleasure to revisit the music that the man left behind.

Without a doubt, the Psycho Daisies are one of Florida's most criminally underrated musical groups. But the man's prodigious skills are also evident on pre-Daisies discs with a more punk-oriented band called the Reactions.

This band's little 7" releases command quite a few dollars on your auction sites whenever they crop up, and they're usually high on the wish list of Japanese collectors. That might not mean much. But geez, Japan?! Yup.

We all know that Salton was the elder statesman of the group. And while he's known for his incredible guitar skills, his bass work on 1980's The Reactions Love You gives a serious foundation to the naïveté of these teen-angst-driven songs.

Opener "Nights on End" gets it going with a sweet '50s feeling and some good fuzzy guitars. there's rebellion and hope here as well as a sense of time slipping away. "Marianne" is really good power-pop punk rock, taking the Ramones' playbook (as interpreted by later groups like Squirtgun, the Queers, and Screeching Weasel) to a place of saccharine bliss.

"I Can't Help It" opens the flipside with a slightly harder edge while "Rebel Rousers" is a crisp ode to youth. The latter track might sound dated now, but it still closes the 7" with satisfying taste.

Recorded at Recording Labs in Ft. Lauderdale and released on the band's own imprint, Reaction Records, this EP was engineered by Tony Mancino. And while I make no promises that you'll find a copy for less than your biweekly take from work, there are some places on the internet where you can find MP3s of the tracks like here.

An affordable option would be to get this from Lou Ming's Pete Moss Memorial website. Not only do you get a nice disc with this EP's four tracks, but you also get a live, 19-track recording of the Reactions performing at Dania's defunct Balkan Rock Club on Charlie Pickett's birthday. In the meantime, enjoy a frosty one and some BBQ chicken, I know Johnny's looking down on us now, with a soft thigh in hand.

Download: The Reactions' "Marianne"

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Abel Folgar