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REV IT UP, HOT ROD, Various Artists

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Rev it up?! Not with this bilge, rat!

What I’m guessing is that a company called Right Stuff Manufacturing in Hollywood, Ca., (says so on the liner notes, although it’s actually Capitol records) produced a CD for Hot Rod magazine, which features 14 well-known (greatly understated term) hot rod songs from the 1960s. You give us the pictures, we’ll give you the sound and we’ll all be vacationing in the Grand Caymans this time next year.

Guess who made the line-up in this mess?
Go on, take a wild stab at it.

Jan & Dean? Right!
The Beach Boys? Right!
Ronnie & the Daytonas? Right!
The Rip Chords? Right!
So it’s gotta be right, right?
WRONG! WRONGG!!! WRRRRONGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When are record dealers, radio programmers, and record company execs going to go to the library, thumb through the “New Oxford Dictionary of the English Language” and look up the words “overexposed” and “overdone?”

“Drag City” (Jan & Dean), “Hey Little Cobra” (the Rip Chords), “409” (the Beach Boys), “No Particular Place to Go” (Chuck Berry), “GTO” (Ronnie y Los Daytonas), and “Little Deuce Coupe” (the Beach Bullies) lead a pack of hackneyed played-to-death, manufactured-for-easy-consumption hits of the 1960’s. What is the matter with these people, and for that matter, the buyers? I mean every oldies station from Novaya Zemlya in the arctic circle to Tierra Del Fuego play these things a thousand times a year.

There were good hot rod records in the 1960’s, though not all that many. Dick Dale & the Deltones made some, the Surfaris got on the gravy train, as did some solid instrumental bands, a few vocal groups and a number of rock-a-billy artists. But they are few and far between. The hit junk like the above had no more to do with hot rodding than Frankie Avalon had to do with surfing.

The only person I could see going ‘Wow,’ other than some really young kids who got a raise in their allowance, might be a Charlie Starkweather-type, the Lincoln, Nebraska mass murderer of the late Fifties. Let’s make-believe he wasn’t electrocuted and got parole this year; he might buy this CD, and because he was shut out the last half of this century, say “Gee, neat, an album of car songs.”

Save for country star Wanda Jackson’s early-in-career “Let’s Have A Party” and Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” (hard to knock a band backed by the Stax-Volt studio bands), this CD looks at strike three. To misquote the 1960’s instrumental rockers, the Ventures, “Run, Don’t Walk” from this ultra conservative, nuthin’ happenin’ morass.

Editor’s Note: We do like the wheel design on the CD, though.


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