Gary Usher

Hot Rod U.S.A.

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This quasi-legitimate release collects 30 tunes (mostly hot rod & surf) that Usher had a hand in as producer and/or performer between 1960 and 1965, most taken from rare collector 45s. While there are occasional touches of Buddy Holly, girl groups, or The Four Seasons, it sounds like nothing as much as a collection of Beach Boys/Jan & Dean outtakes from the early '60s. That's not to say, though, that they're on par with the average early Beach Boys albums; it's pretty innocuous (if not downright formulaic) stuff, and after a while you might start to wish it was The Beach Boys and not so relentlessly lightweight. Some of the better tracks are actually the ones on which he and/or his studio charges eschew the sub-Beach Boy approach altogether for raunchy, reverb-soaked surf instrumentals. This set includes some rare, virtually unknown cuts that Brian Wilson himself co-wrote, by the likes of The Super Stocks, the Timers, and Rachel & the Revolvers, but its appeal is really limited to surf/Beach Boy fanatics.