Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Hollywood Hot Rodsdotdot
artworkThe twenty instrumentals from the De-Fenders, Darts, and Deuce Coupes are mostly interchangeable. They were the same studio band, with Glen Campbell on guitar. Like most session records of the day, a bunch of players would get together in the studio and "write" jam-based riff rock. In the few hours they would have, little that could be confused with chemistry would gel. While there are a couple of cool instros here, most are pale substitutes for the real thing. On the other hand, the great thing about Bob Keene's vault purges is bringing great tracks like Opus I's incredible "Back Seat '38 Dodge" to folks that would otherwise never get a chance to hear it. This suggestive teenage car song remains vital after more than 45 years, with it's surf band backing and organ, strong beat, and curious lyrics. The last track is a no-name obscuro of little interest called "The Fastest Car In Town" from the Crockett Brothers. So, essential for the Opus I track, but otherwise mostly dismissible.
Picks: Gear Masher, Nite Prowler, Candy Apple Blue, Monkey Si, Road Rattler, Hayburner, Slauson and Soto, Monkey Do, Gaucho, Shop Talk, Hippy's Delight, Corn Pone, Four Banger, Deuces Wild, Skin Diver, Wheelin' Home, Movin' and Groovin', Loose Nuts, Back Seat '38 Dodge, Candymatic, Mag Rims

Track by Track Review


Gear Masher dot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

A racing engine with rods knocking, a riff that's too close to Barrett Strong's "Money," and squealing tires... except for the demented guitar dissonance in some verses, this is just a riff and a jam guitar showoff track.

Nite Prowler dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This is quite dry, and the guitar tones are insensitive to the arrangement. The performance is technically good and emotionless, almost empty. It's worth a spin or two, but you'll forget it pretty quickly. Too much of a jam.

Candy Apple Blue dot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

The rhythm track here owes it's life to Little Richard's "Lucille," and the lead is the sort of thing p[layers do when they are just jamming... endless repetitions of the same note choked and puked out. Very nonmusical.

Monkey Si dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

So, just how close can you get to Major Lance's "Monkey Time" without actually being "Monkey Time?" Well, all it takes is the same structure, the same rhythm patterns, and a lead line that is mighty close to "Comin' Home Baby."

Road Rattler dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Racing runs up and down the neck relentlessly riffing away give rise to fifties writing and chunka chunka beats, all cute but with no enduring qualities. Inspired by "Guitar Boogie Shuffle," but without either the innocence or the charm.

Hayburner dot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Hokey country ideas, horns honking, hicks dancing, a cutesy rhythm, and jam licks... Fun for a verse or two, but then it becomes monotonous.

Slauson and Soto dot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Tribal drums, a Bo Diddley beat and a Johnny Otis "Willie and the Hand Jive" guitar chop. No imagination here. No melody or interest either.

Monkey Do dot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This is a smoother counterpart to the Deuce Coupe's "Monkey Si," a little slower and groovier, and less dependent on Major Lance's "Monkey Time."

Gaucho dotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

A rolling cowboy beat and a smooth lead guitar line, delivered with surf and cactus in mind. Infectious but not quite exciting. It's that play quiet in the studio thing I think.

Shop Talk dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

"Shop Talk" is a little warmer than the rest of the De-Fenders / Darts / Deuce Coupes material, but certainly no more melodic. You'll get lots of jam for that PB&J.

Hippy's Delight dot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

"Hippy's Delight" is a jazzy jam based slightly on "Walk On The Wild Side" minus the melody. Not a touch of hippy, not a dash of hot rod, and not a hint of surf.

Corn Pone
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

A pail attempt at the Pachuko Soul genre, like what happens when the French try to be cool. Argh!

Four Banger dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Hot rods to hell scream past, and then a simple riff follows. The lead guitar is very buried in the mix. A rhythmic but boring track.

Deuces Wild dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Racing rods pass you by... Then a dreadful jam with organ lead greets you right out of some bad Hollywood B-movie club scene. The riff is reminiscent of "Suzie Q," but only reminiscent.

Skin Diver dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

In some ways, this is a little Paul Johnson-ish. It's not very melodic, but the tone and the riff is like some he's written for studio sessions with the Challengers and others. A pretty good track, given the surrounding mung.

Wheelin' Home dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Cheap soulin' organ and bluesy sax... An after hours jam at best.

Movin' and Groovin' dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Not the Duane Eddy / Al Casey number. Just a club riff with too much organ and jammin' guitar.

Loose Nuts dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

With that Chuck Berry "Memphis" riff and a lead line morphed slightly from that towards "Old McDonald Had A Farm." Too derivative to be interesting.

Back Seat '38 Dodge dotdotdotdotdot
Hot Rod (Vocal)

OK, so it's not an instro, but it's a great surf band behind an amazing garage anthem full of power, chunk, and angst. After so many years, "Back Seat '38 Dodge" remains one of my favorite Mustang singles, even over the Bobby Fuller Four. Highly rhythmic and intense, this is a masterpiece of pop-punk-surf that demands listening. I don't know who they were, but they rocked! "What do I see in the back seat, in the back of my '38 Dodge?"

Candymatic dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Piano and guitar blues, slowly writhing with a soul groove. Interesting stinging whammy and reverbed second guitar. A real merger between surf and blues.

Mag Rims dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This is the same tune that Dick Dale issued. The guitar is fuzzy and the drums are great. It's fast paced and slightly monotonous.