The Knights

Hot Rod High

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Named after a popular L.A. car club of the time, the Knights were not an actual band, but yet another pseudonym for the studio group masterminded by surf and hot rod producer Gary Usher. Usher utilized the best studio players of the day, who also worked with the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean, including Tommy Tedesco, Glen Campbell, Leon Russell, Frank Capp, Ray Pohlman, Hal Blaine, and Jerry Cole. Originally issued on Capitol in July 1964, Hot Rod High combined revved-up hot rod themes ("Midnight Auto," "Three Wheeler," "Hot Rod U.S.A."), high-school hijinks ("Ditch Day," "Skippin' School," Chuck Berry's "School Days"), and cover versions of "Be True to Your School," "Rock Around the Clock," and "I Get Around." As Beatlemania was in full bloom, Gary Usher and crew were still cranking out these platters, just as the British Invasion would deem them passé and drastically change the musical landscape. While the playing time on this disc is only 26:41, in the case of many surf and drag reissues, less is more.

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