Well-done overdue collection
Zub | Forks Twp., PA | 02/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While Sundazed has released expanded versions of the original Rip Chords albums over the recent years, a quality collection of their recorded works has taken this long to appear in the CD marketplace. Why, is anyone's guess but, as Terry Melcher's mother Doris might say, "Que sera, sera". Though often viewed as a one-hit wonder group, four other Rip Chords songs made it into the top-100 during their brief run in the mid-sixties. Their signature song, "Hey Little Cobra" epitimized the California summer/muscle car/surf music craze and ranks up there with the far more ubiquitous Beach Boys and Jan and Dean tunes of the era. Their followup single, "Three Window Coupe" was a very strong contender and deserved more sales then it garnered, but as so often happened, the often short attention span of the music buying public said "been there, done that" and the tune only scratched the lower reaches of the top 40. Subsequent releases unsucessfully recycled the same theme and style and soon the Rip Chords were "gone" as one of their early singles was, in retrospect, predictively titled. Though the group's time in the spotlight was relatively short-lived, their music deserves a collected works and this piece does an admirable job. Among the generous 20 tracks are all five of their charting singles along with album cuts, failed singles and three previously unreleased tracks. Sound quality is excellent and all but three tracks (5,15,18) apprear in stereo. The twelve-page liner notes booklet has an overview of the group's history along with contributions from two of the original members, Ernie Bringas and Phil Stewart as well as a nice discography. For the true fan or completist collector, having this piece on top of the individual album releases may be overkill but for the more casual listener, this is an outstanding overview of the Rip Chords' musical output."
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sundazed Music first put out two separate CDs on The Rip Chords, presenting 30 tracks in total for a group that had all of five hits in 1963/64 and, in order to get all five at that time you have to purchase both volumes. They then made up for that by issuing this volume which has all five of their hits and four of the B-sides.
This California group was Columbia's attempt to counter their Capitol rivals' Beach Boys, even featuring a member who would one day become a Beach Boy [Bruce Johnston, who joined that group in April 1965]. Other members included Terry Melcher, son of one of Columbia's biggest stars, Doris Day, along with Richard Rotkin, Arnie Marcus, Ernie Bringas, and Phil Stewart.
For their first two charters in 1963 they covered two older hits, the first being Here I Stand, a # 80 early in 1959 for Wade Flemmons & The Newcomers, which they took to # 51 Billboard Pop Hot 100 in April b/w Karen, and the second being Gone, a # 4 for Ferlin Husky in 1957 and which for them reached # 88 Hot 100 in August b/w She Thinks I Still Care, a big 1962 Country hit for George Jones which, unfortunately, was left out of this edition.
Then, in December, they had their best hit when Hey Little Cobra went to # 4 Hot 100 early in January 1964 b/w The Queen. That was followed by Three Window Coupe, written by Jan Berry of Jan & Dean fame, which finished at a respectable # 28 Hot 100 in May 1965 b/w Hot Rod, U.S.A., while their last hit, One Piece Topless Bathing Suit, lost a strap and topped out at # 96 Hot 100 that August b/w Wah-Wahini.
And that was it. In roughly that same span, meanwhile, the Beach Boys had 15 hits, including 11 Top 40 and the # 1 I Get Around. Johnston and Melcher did, however, team up for Columbia as Bruce And Terry in 1964 for a couple of minor hits, Custom Machine [# 85] and Summer Means Fun [# 72], and again in the late 1960s, along with Glen Campbell, Gary Usher, and Kurt Boettcher, to form Sagittarius. In 1967 for Columbia they had a # 70 with My World Fell Down, and returned in 1969 on the Together label to take the old Beach Boys hit, In My Room, to # 86. Melcher also had some considerable success producing hits for the likes of The Byrds and Paul Revere & The Raiders.
Great music, redundant compilation
Shockadelic | Sydney, Australia | 07/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you like 60s surf/hot rod music, you'll love the Rip Chords. However, as this compilation is just the best songs from only two albums, Hey Little Cobra and Other Hot Rod Hits and Three Window Coupe, it's a bit pointless.
If you buy this and like it, you'll want the original albums anyway, as there are another 8 tracks on Hey Little Cobra and another 5 on Three Window Coupe. Only the final 3 bonus tracks on this compilation are not included on the 2 original albums (I always say of bonus/unreleased tracks: "If songs weren't released the first time round, it's probably because they SUCK").
I say buy Three Window Coupe and if you like it, you'll want Hey Little Cobra too!