THE KICKSTANDS – Black Boots & Bikes [1964]

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”The Kickstands were one of writer and producer Gary Usher’s studio amalgams that made use of veteran L.A. session players in the early to mid-’60s to produce album after album of hot rod and surf tunes. With players from the so-called Wrecking Crew, including Jerry Cole, Hal Blaine, Steve Douglas, Earl Palmer, Leon Russell, Glen Campbell, and with Chuck Girard handling most of the vocals, the Kickstands officially released one album, Black Boots & Bikes, on Capitol Records. The album had a somewhat darker hue than most of Usher’s sunshine and surf productions, and tracks like “Death Valley Run” and “Slow Ride South” are definitely worth seeking out for fans of Usher and the hot rod/surf genre.” ~ Steve Leggett

 

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”Right from the start, it’s obvious the Black Boots and Bikes is different from the slew of other Usher projects. The mixes favor the growly saxes, the vocals have a harder edge some extra timpani and xylophones (?) add to the heaviness of the overall sound. Released at the peak of the Honda/Bike craze, all that’s missing from the album is an obligatory cover of “Little Honda” as the 12th track; though it’s absence may simply have been due simply to time restrictions as these albums were usually rushed out in a day. A gritty ‘Death Valley Run’ opens up the record and is noticeably than the Hondells original. Mike Curbs’ instrumental ‘Hill Climb’ follows very much along the same path chalk full of saxes and steady drums. ‘Mean Streak’ actually sounds pretty good here considering the album’s darker themes. The bouncy ‘Side Car’ features some excellent playing – presumably by Jerry Cole an ‘Two Wheel Show Stopper’ has some instresting dissonance from the background vocals which works well alongside the pounding drums a baritone saxes. ‘Haulin’ Honda’ is another instrumental and could be considered filler if it were’nt so dogone catchy. ‘Devil On Wheels’ features some castanets and, like ‘Mean Streak’, is compliented by the hard-rocking execution. ‘Ridin’ Trails’ also works well here before the album slows down on the Mexican ‘Slow Ride South.’ Collector’s may search out this album for the inclusion of the the original ‘Johnny Take Care’ which never reappeared on any Usher. Admittedly, it’s not hard to see why…. The fuzzed up ‘Scrambler’ closes the album.

 An oddity in the Usher canon, Black Boots and Bikes shows us the other side of the biker culture. Challenging the clean cut Beach Boys’ take on the sport, the Kickstands’ rendition is the more accurate, showing the dangers and the risks of the gang experience. That said, for surf/hot rod enthusiasts it warrents some attention only if you enjoy the wild hard-hitting sounds of other similar creations such as Mr. Gasser and the Weirdos or Dick Dale. For those on the Beach Boys, Terry Melcher side, better to pass this one up.” – J. T. [surfroute101]

 

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GARY USHER – Hot Rod U.S.A. [1960-1965]

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”This quasi-legitimate bootleg compilation collect 30 tunes (mostly hot rod & surf) that Usher had a hand in as producer and/or performer between 1960 and 1965, most taken from rare collector 45s.
The majority of tracks here are penned by Usher, from “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” rip-off “Lonely Surfer Boy”, to two 1960 singles released under Gary Usher’s own name: “You’re The Girl” (which was his first 45, released on the Titan label) and its b-side “Driven Insane” which has backing vocals by future Honeys member Ginger Blake; solo compositions like The Wheel Men’s “School Is A Gas,” the instrumental “Gear!” and The Pyramids “Custom Caravan.” An unusual chord structure and prominent piano solo distinguish The Pendletons “Barefoot Adventure” and the ultra-rare comedy track “Wave Hog” which is sung by Gary Usher – is credited to the Silly Surfers and was commissioned for a model-kit building company! Following this is two follow-up tracks: “Francis The Foul” (which is about a cheating football player) and “Leaky Boat Louie”, both taken from a 1965 comedy album by the Weird-Ohs. Other highlights are the Four Seasons-inspired “Shame Girl” b/w “I’ve Got Plans” by the Neptunes, Gary Usher’s Beatlesque ”It’s A Lie” and ”The Beetle”, The Pyramids instrumental ”Mindnight Run”, The Marketts ”Collision Course” and what is credited as “the only enjoyable cut” from the comedy album Rod’s N’ Ratfink by Mr. Gasser & The Weirdos: “The Lonely Stocker” – which was strangely enough the weakest track on the Knights album. Also found are a Gary Usher vocal on the Wilson-Usher collaboration “Shut Down” which was released under the name The Road Runners.”

A re-up of this cool bootleg collection with enchanced sound quality on many trax by Mr.Eliminator himself. Don’t miss it !

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THE ROAD RUNNERS vs SQUIDDLY DIDDLY [60’s Hot Rod/Surf]

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Two rare 60’s slabs by fictional acts. First is another Gary Usher’s studio project, The Road Runners and ’64 hot rod lp ”The New Mustang” with Dennis McCarthy, Dick Burns [The Hondells] and Gary Paxton. Beside usual car songs there are few fine instro-tunes as Mighty Mustang, New Mustang and Road Runnah.

Squiddly was cartoon squid created by Hanna-Barbera and ’66 lp ”Squiddly Diddly’s Surfin’ Safari” is pretty cool surfin’ parody. Rare stuff, don’t miss it, Dig!

 

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HOT ROD CITY – Introducing The Quads, The Grand Prix, The Customs & The Challengers [1963/95]

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“Recorded in 1963. [Originally released on Vault], the original LP version of HOT ROD CITY was performed by two basic groups of surf and hot-rod musicians operating under three names. The Grand Prix and the Quads were conceived by songwriter-producer Richard Delvy, and the Customs were conceived by songwriter-producer Gary Usher. This 1995 reissue adds eight additional songs and alternate takes, including two previously-unreleased tracks by Delvy’s main band, The Challengers. The members of the Challengers also formed the core of The Grand Prix and The Quads. This release includes the alternate take bonus tracks “Candy Apple Buggy”, “Goin’ 88”, “Nifty ’50”, “Hot Rod City”, “Competition Coupe”, and also a few tracks that weren’t included on the original album; “She Rides With Me”, “The Blonde In The 406” and “Little Queenie”.

Gary Usher and Richard Delvy, flush from their success with the top-ten album Shut Down (which they produced), was asked by Vault Records to try and duplicate that success on their label. Vault had already contracted surf-rock band The Challengers to play on the tracks, but never having written car tunes before, Usher was brought in to lend an authentic touch.

Given three fictional group names to work with – The Customs, The Quads, The Grand Prix, and the aforementioned backing group, The Challengers, Usher also brought in friends Dick Burns (The Hondells), Paul Johnson, Bobby Hart, Paul Johnson, Dennis McCarthy and others to quickly shape an album of hot rod tunes in order to strike while the iron was hot. The resulting album, Hot Rod City, while no masterpiece, captures the raw energy of the drag-racing circuit, and includes several songs of interest to Beach Boys fans. Included are the previous Usher compositions “RPM”, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline,” and three Beach Boys songs, “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Shut Down,” and “409.”

Welcome to the Hot Rod City, Dig !!!

 

 

THE HONDELLS – 4CD Collection !!!

 

“The Hondells were a west coast surf/hot rod band in the early 60’s that had songs on the Billboard Hot 100 and appeared in several movies like “Beach Blanket Bingo” and “Beach Party”.
The band toured throughout the United States with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars and played with a USO tour in Vietnam. They released several albums and singles on the Mercury label under the name of The Hondells. The main members of the band also played on and released songs as “The Weird-Oh’s” and “The Super Stocks”.
The band members were Richard “Ritchie” Burns, Wayne Edwards, Randy Thomas, Dennis McCarthy, Al Ferguson, Les Weiser and “King of The Fuzz” Davie Allan. Most of their material was produced by Gary Usher.”

Ugh! It’s gonna be a bit of overkill but for you ‘hard core’ fans of surf & hot rod Hondells style it’s never enough. I’ve already posted their classic ’64/’65 slabs [several times] and an collection, but these 4cd’s cover everything The Hondells crew recorded in the 60’s. Here you got albums, singles, alternate versions, commercials, rarities, their recordings as THE SUNSETS, THE FOUR SPEEDS, THE COMPETITORS, THE GHOULS [lp posted on old blog], THE SUPER STOCKS, THE GO-GO’S , with LLOYD THAXTON and GARY USHER. Everything you wanna know about your favorite Honda bikers is here, so c’mon… You’re Gonna Ride With The Hondells !!!