Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Hot Rods And Custom Classicsdotdotdot
artworkThis CD box is loaded with hot rod songs, some great, some not so, and some gimmicky, but all fun. A handful of instros also grace the track list. Very expensive, but a cool idea.
Picks: The Duals - Stick Shift, Duane Eddy - Forty Miles Of Bad Road, Johnny Fortune - Dragster, The Fugitives - Freeway, Thee Midniters - Whittier Blvd., Nelson Riddle - Route 66 Theme, Arlen Sanders - Hopped-Up-Mustang, The Shut Downs - Four In The Floor

Track by Track Review


The Duals - Stick Shift dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This track defines early hot rod guitar instros. It opens with grumbling pipes and tire squeals, and move right into the simple but infectious melody line that fires off over the thumping bass and rocking drums. It is like an outgrowth of rockabilly, with the edges of the surf sound to come hiding in the weeds. A necessary presurf instro. Unlike the Collectables release, this is from session tapes.

Duane Eddy - Forty Miles Of Bad Road dotdotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

A classic Al Casey / Duane Eddy Southern Rock tale of driving the pickup down a dusty road that bucks like a bronco. The cool guitar and screamin' sax, and the frequent rebel yells made this a monster AM hit.

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.

Denny Freeman - Led Sled dotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

"Led Sled" is a modern blueser with a non-memorable melody riff. While very well played, it would disappear among a stack of blues instros.

The Fugitives - Freeway dotdotdot
Spanish R&B (Instrumental)

Piano boogie coolness, riffin' R&B jungle, crisp tone, and a sax lead riff. It rolls along like an open road anthem for the sax generation. It's got the same kinda feel as Little Juarez's "Bull Fight" or the Hollywood Persuaders' "Tijuana Taxi." Darn infectious.

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.

Nelson Riddle - Route 66 Theme dotdotdot
Orchestra (Instrumental)

This TV theme is a classic am radio hit. Its infectious sound and walking bass line are hard not to like, and when the drummer gets a little raucous, big bands come to mind. Quite nice!

The Routers - Sting Ray dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Aside from the car horn basis of this gimmicky track, there's little to attract the fan of real rock 'n' roll instros or surf here. This was also issued as "Ah-OO-Ga" or some such.

Arlen Sanders - Hopped-Up-Mustang dotdotdot
Oldies (Vocal)

OK, this is a vocal, but the surfband behind Arlen Sanders is playing Lee Hazelwood's "Movin'." I don't know who they were, but it's darn cool. Anyway, stupid lyrics over the real deal is tempting.

The Shut Downs - Four In The Floor dotdotdot
Hot Rod Surf (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.