The Hornets

Motorcycles U.S.A.

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Instrumental motorcycle music is indistinguishable from instrumental hot rod music, it turns out, except for the song titles. This reality quickly becomes apparent on the Hornets' Motorcycles U.S.A., the first of two albums this anonymous studio group recorded for Liberty Records in the mid-'60s. Jerry Capehart (one of Eddie Cochran's collaborators during his early years) produced the album, and guitar wizard Jerry Cole co-wrote all of the tunes with Glen Cass, both of whom also played in Gary Usher's motorcycle-themed group the Kickstands. The Hornets dish up standard instrumental rock with boss guitars, organ, honking sax, and motorcycle sound effects attached to song titles like "Bike Talk," "Cross-Country Run," and "The Fastest Throttle." Cole even recycles his own material at times -- "On the Track" is actually a re-recording of his composition "Night Drag" from the Jerry Cole & the Spacemen album Hot Rod Dance Party on Capitol Records. If all it takes to turn hot rod music into motorcycle music is slapping on a new title, then that doesn't say much for the integrity of the motorcycle "genre." The Hornets later recorded the album Big Drag Boats U.S.A., which goes through the same motions under the pretense of creating speedboat rock & roll.

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