Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Hot Rod And Drag Music Compiled By Jack Lapoledotdotdot
artworkThis is a web-only 2-CD comp of hot rod tunes, many of which are very ho-hum vocals. Some instros are from vinyl, others from CD sources. It's a bootleg.
Picks: The Darts - Detroit Iron, The Deuce Coupes - Gear Masher, Eddie and the Showmen - Squad Car, The Exports - Car Hop, Johnny Fortune - Dragster, The Bobby Fuller Four - KRLA Top Eliminator, Gas Huffer - Road Runnah, The Marketts - Collision Course, Thee Midniters - Whittier Blvd., The Missing Finks - The Clutch, Gene Moles and the Softwinds - Burnin' Rubber, Twin Pipes, Jack Nitzsche - The Last Race, Opus I - Back Seat '38 Dodge, The Road Runners - Road Runnah, The Roadsters - Mag Rims, The Shutdowns - Four In The Floor, Ben Vaughn - Bent Fender, The Vettes - Devil Driver's Theme

Track by Track Review


The Darts - Detroit Iron
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Slowish progression, racing cars, and not a melody in sight. Another pale effort at the Pachuko Soul genre.

The Deuce Coupes - 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.

Eddie and the Showmen - Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is THEE Eddie & the Showmen song, and their second single. Written by Paul Johnson, it totally shreds. The best news is it finally appears in stereo.

The Exports - Car Hop dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This surf instro is a magnificent example of the roots of the twangy sound that has become identified with Los Straitjackets. With good reason, they cover this fine record. Infectious, bouncy, and very fun.

Johnny Fortune - Dragster dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

If it says Johnny Fortune, you need it. A master at the age of 16, already a veteran of hit records by Sam Cooke among others, and his 10 year old brother is the drummer. Great tune, and Johnny had a totally unique sound.

The Bobby Fuller Four - KRLA Top Eliminator dotdotdot
Surf Progression (Instrumental)

Dragster engine racing, the machine fires off of the line, and then a basic rockin' progression comes forth. Not very melodic, but fun and chunky, with occasional wolf cries. Cool track.

Gas Huffer - Road Runnah dotdotdotdot
Surf & Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This is a great grode version of The Road Runners' "Road Runnah." The engines are simulated with throaty vocalizing. Rock solid and way too fun!

The Marketts - Collision Course dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Gary Usher / Roger Christian composition saw many deliveries under the pick of Paul Johnson as the Challengers, the Good Guys, and others. The tune is a mighty infectious thing. The arrangement is restrained to the point where that is it's main draw. The horns lessen it's impact.

Thee Midniters - Whittier Blvd. dotdotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

This is it! "Whittier Blvd." may be the ultimate cruising song. High spirits, rockin' stompin' good fun, and great mariachi horns. This is one of a handful of songs that demonstrate the incredible power of a simple riff that's well written and turned to great effect through outstanding arranging. The bass line is more melodic than the lead lines, yet the guitar and horn section pummel while the rhythm section simply rocks. A must have of the era. It's not surf, but surf bands used to play it. "Whittier Blvd." ended up being their signature, and I think it was their only instro. Totally cool.

The Missing Finks - The Clutch dotdot
Surf & Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Another lo end track, opening with a track announcement and motor sounds taken from some drag racing album. Fifties vibrato progression.

Gene Moles and the Softwinds - Burnin' Rubber dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Screaming dragsters and spirited surf guitar work with a melodic main riff and strong performances, together as is seldom heard in studio projects. The double picked bass is a very cool touch, but the organ is out of place. Cool track.

Gene Moles and the Softwinds - Twin Pipes
Surf Stomp (Instrumental)

The frat jam opposite of "Burnin' Rubber," this is of no consequence, with no melody and just a chumpy beat.

Jack Nitzsche - The Last Race dotdotdot
Hit Clone (Instrumental)

Speaking of studio lizards, Jack Nitzsche had a major AM hit with his low-E guitar and orchestra studio creation "The Lonely Surfer." This is just like that... a spinoff of the same idea. Jack Nitzsche was a producer. This is an interesting track for a few spins, but it is very derivative. This was the theme to the Village Of The Giants I think.

Opus I - 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?"

The Road Runners - Road Runnah dotdotdotdot
Hot Rod Surf (Instrumental)

The single A-side (B-side was "Quasimoto"), this track ended up on the London Records release of the Pyramids' album. It does not appear on the original Best Records release, and bears no similarity in playing or style to the Pyramids. OK, so that's not a slam, just a clarification. This track rules! It's hot, "Pipeline" like, and fiery. It may be a bit obscure, but it's a great track!

The Roadsters - 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.

The Shutdowns - Four In The Floor dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This was a cool single when I first got it back in '62 or so. It is a rhythm dominated number, with a minimal progression, covered by racing hot rod engines. Way fun.

Ben Vaughn - Bent Fender dotdot
Surf & Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This is a basic country boogie with echo. It's way below par for Ben Vaughn, though as these kinds of tracks go, it's well done.

The Vettes - Devil Driver's Theme dotdotdot
Hot Rod Horror (Instrumental)

Grumbly and droolingly mean, this cover of the Astronauts' "Devil Driver's Theme" is more about menacing and less about skill. The sound suggests a studio band, and the wolf howls add a little terror to the mix.