Feb 21, 2009


The Kickstands were one of writer and producer Gary Usher's studio amalgams that made use of veteran L.A. session players in the early to mid-'60s to produce album after album of hot rod and surf tunes. With players from the so-called Wrecking Crew, including Jerry Cole, Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer, Leon Russell, Glen Campbell, and with Chuck Girard handling most of the vocals, the Kickstands officially released one album, Black Boots & Bikes, on Capitol Records. The album had a somewhat darker hue than most of Usher's sunshine and surf productions, and tracks like "Death Valley Run" and "Slow Ride South" are definitely worth seeking out for fans of Usher and the hot rod/surf genre...[net]
There was some formidable talent involved in the sole LP by the studio-only hot rod band the Kickstands, which mixed instrumentals and vocals. Gary Usher and Roger Christian, who wrote material for the Beach Boys and other notable early-'60s Southern Californian surf and hot rod acts, penned a few of the tracks. Guitarist Jerry Cole, drummer Earl Palmer, and saxophonist Steve Douglas, all top Hollywood sessionmen, played on the record. The fact is, however, that this was a hot rod exploitation album, hurriedly recorded while the fad was still on track. As Usher himself remembering: "You have to understand, these albums meant a steady income for the troops. I was trying to funnel as much money into these guys as I could -- the demand was not going to last forever." Accordingly, it's not top-notch hot rod music; it's rather formulaic, though the lyrics (and song titles, in the case of the instrumentals) have a somewhat more rebellious, more ominous streak than most of the tunes in what was usually a fun-loving genre. There's some good growling guitar playing, particularly on the closing instrumental "Scrambler."..[net]


Anonymous said...

Hi, thankx for Kickstands.

Nice music.

Great blog.

alf said...

Note each side is ten minutes long - there's a trick there - with LP's the more music per side the quieter and less dynamic range you got - so these trks exploded off the lp. Plus the better, heavier pressings like ATCO also made for much better sound. Donovan records for instance. Years later Van Halen did the same thing.
The records also last longer- conversely cheap pressings like Grunt rarely sounded good even fresh off the presses, hence the compressed snd of late Jeff Airplane records.
digital recordings another animal - but people still manage to screw it up heh heh

Georgie Hirezola said...

yeah right Alf...much more space gives more dynamic range & also full mid & low frequencies..
so if you ever happened to listen to late '50s 78 rpm singles on vinyl (not shellac) you 'll understand what I mean... it's a whole new (old!he he) experience!!!!!!
I have Julie London, some Platters,Penguins,Chordettes & some jazz & blues...on 78 rpm from mid fifties & believe me the sound is unbelievable!!!!!no 45s no LPs no Cds no SACDs...its a glorious master tape sound!(with the right turntable & needle!)