Fans of oddball cinema have long known the name Arch Hall, Jr. as the star of such low-budget epics as Wild Guitar, Eegah!, The Choppers, and The Sadist (the latter featuring his finest performance as a creepy teenage psycho pattered after Charles Starkweather), but while (with the exception of The Sadist) he sang a few rock & roll numbers in each of his films, the guy never seemed to have made any records. As it turns out, Arch Hall, Jr. racked up one commercially released single during the course of his career in music, but there's more to the man than that, and thankfully the cultural archivists at Norton Records have finally set the record straight on his musical abilities with Wild Guitar, which pulls together both sides of that rare 45 along with tunes from his movies, dialogue clips, and some unreleased live material. Actually, the latter category is where the real action is on this disc; the tunes from Hall's movies are pretty good (especially "I'm Growing Taller Every Day" and "Brownsville Road"), but it's when listeners get to a live gig that Hall and his band, the Archers, played at a Florida drive-in in 1962 (where Wild Guitar was playing) that things really start to hop. Turns out Hall was a hot guitar player with a taste for the blues and no fear of letting it rip (not many white guys were name-checking Bobby "Blue" Bland in 1962), and his bandmembers could certainly keep up as they roar through versions of "Good Golly Miss Molly," "Suzie Q," and "Further On Up the Road." Hall is in even stronger form on two tunes from a 1964 nightclub date, and it makes you wish someone had the presence of mind to cut an album on these guys when they were hot. Still, Wild Guitar at least allows you to hear Arch Hall, Jr. make with the rhythm on your stereo at last, and confirms this guy was a natural-born rock & roller, and not some teen actor who got handed a guitar. Very fun stuff.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming