Various Artists

Motorcycle Gang

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The central theme here was apparently at some point motorcycle songs, although only about half of the 31 songs here ended up being motorcycle songs. Those tracks alone, however, make this collection very unusual to start with. And the lineup of songs and players includes a name that was to become famous a few years later -- Paul Simon in his Brill Building period working under the moniker Tico & the Triumphs, doing "Motorcycle," and an original credited to J. Landis. The music almost all moves like nobody's business; Kenny Loren's "Brenda," David Orrell's "Be My Baby," Bill Starr's "Grizzly Bear," Little Montie Jones' "Your Just That Kind" (a hillbilly-type number), Terry Daly's screaming "You Don't Bug Me" -- even though they don't have anything to do with motorcycles -- fit okay. Dennis Pena's "Battle of the Duals" returns us to the central theme in top form, with a great beat, strong guitar playing, and clever lyrics; this could've been the prototype for the Beach Boys' "409." As for "Motorcycle," Paul Simon sings it like a real punk, and despite the use of a publicity photo that seems to be for Tom and Jerry, Art Garfunkel is not on this record. The instrumental "Short Rod" by Connie & the Bellhops is more impressive in some ways, and Dwight Pullen's "Sunglasses After Dark" is also more memorable. Darrell Rhodes' "Runnin' and Chasin" is a fair variation on "Slippin' & Slidin'," and Bill Pollard's "Nitespot Rock" could've given Jerry Lee Lewis a run for his money if it had been on a bigger label than Ozark. Lee McBridge's "Confusion" has an intro almost too close to Carl Perkins' "Honey Don't" for its own good, and that's its most effective element; Norman Witcher's "Somebody's Been Rockin' My Boat" is fresher with its mix of guitar and sax. Myron Lee's "Homecide" (sic) with its shrieking sax is less attractive, and is a downright weird song. But most of what's here is attractive and certainly a revelation to anyone not lucky enough to have tried collecting every rock & roll single under the sun.

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