Various Artists

Hot Rod Race

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How many great rock & roll songs have been written about cars? Probably more than anyone could count, but if you were keeping track, the folks at the German Buffalo Bop have found a bunch of gasoline-guzzling numbers you probably haven't heard before on Hot Rod Race, a collection of 30 rockabilly and county tunes dealing with various types of hot wheels. (Actually, there are 28 songs about cars on this disc, since George Wilson's classic street racing tale, "Hot Rod Race," appears in three versions, recorded by Arthur Smith, Ramblin' Jimmie Dolan, and Charlie Ryan.) While a few tracks warn about the dangers of high speed and violating the traffic code (such as Ray Greff's "The Racing King" and "Last Drag" by Roger Christian), most are enthusiastic celebrations of gearhead culture, with a few comic numbers added for good measure (most notably "Teenage Widder" by the Creeps and "Unlucky Man" by Buddy White). There are plenty of wailing saxophones, twangy guitars, and rockin' rhythms to go along with the sounds of engines revving (and hot rods crashing), and Larry Faulk's "I'm in Hot Rod Heaven in My Old '37" suggests some brave souls were still cutting auto-centric rockabilly numbers well into the '70s (judging from the guitar solo). Car fans and folks who dig first-generation rock & roll will both dig this disc, which has been produced with Buffalo Bop's typically stellar attention to detail.

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