Although the Rip Chords are remembered as something of a one-hit wonder for their early 1964 Top Five hot rod smash "Hey Little Cobra," they did actually record a fair amount of material in the mid-'60s, with four other singles reaching various lower regions of the charts. This well-done, 20-track compilation has all five of those hits, as well as assorted obscurities from their 45s and LPs, topped off by three previously unissued cuts. The songs in which Terry Melcher, Bruce Johnston, P.F. Sloan, and Steve Barri had a hand in writing are emphasized, though interestingly none of those figures were involved in penning "Hey Little Cobra" itself. For all the considerable talent involved, Best of the Rip Chords does sound rather like the Beach Boys/Jan & Dean lite, with only "Hey Little Cobra" and maybe "Surfin' Craze" sounding as good as the best songs coming out of the vocal surf/hot rod genre at the time. If it's a sound you just can't get enough of, however, the guys who wrote and recorded under the Rip Chords' name were among the more able practitioners in the genre, also coming up with other serviceable cuts like "This Little Woodie," the ballad "Beach Girl" (the most blatantly Brian Wilson-esque number here), and "Wah-Wahini."
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger