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We just lost a lesser known, but great guitar player, Gil Orr


Jeff Leites
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One of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet. I'd been acquainted with him for many years as he was a long time member of the Chanteys (Pipeline), and half of the Surf duo (sans bass and drums), the Duo Tones.

 

Facebook notification by Greg Lawson:

 

"Very sad to announce that 1/2 of this great guitar duo passed yesterday. Gil Orr died in the early morning from a hard 5 yr battle with cancer. His pair up with Paul Johnson of the Belairs on this awesome acoustic versions CD of classic surf hits is an absolute must have in your collection. I was able to spend a good part of last Monday morning and early afternoon with Gil in the care facility he has been in recently in Dana Point. Gil's body just ran down but his mind and spirit was as sharp as any. Gil was one of the finest guitar players I've had the pleasure to know. He taught a young Ricky Nelson some of his first guitar chords and was mentored and played with Merle Travis. His playing was heavily jazz influenced and he was a well loved and respected studio musician. I was one of a group of players privileged to play Tuesday afternoons with Gil on the patio of the Newport Beach American Legion. My favorite song on this CD is Baja Nights which Gil wrote. Give this a listen if you want a smile on your face. Spending Monday with Gil has had a profound effect on me. He told me before leaving that he was ready to meet Jesus. Does not end better than that. RIP Gil."

 

 

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  • 2 years later...
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I met Gil while he played regularly in the San Diego area with Rob Mehl. Such a gracious and talented gentleman. He was the creator of much of what was the Southern California Surf Sound. One evening at dinner Gil told me that every dime he ever made playing music was with his beautiful and well worn Fender. Can't tell you how many times that people of all ages who knew the sound, but not the band or artist, would stop in their tracks when Gil went into a rift from Pipeline or other tune then ask me who he was and if he was "That Guy"? Of course, because Gil Orr was The Man. 

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