by Mitch Myers
Is Rhino actually K-Tel Records for the next millennium? Who can say? The label’s collection of classic car songs is shticky enough, that’s for certain. Still, Rhino’s definitive musical aesthetics are prone toward considering recorded pop culture as collectible archives rather than just disposable trash. There should be no surprise, then, that this four-disc behemoth has been designed to resemble a model car package and includes some real decals, a key chain and authentic fuzzy dice. Besides the brilliant packaging, the box’s massive booklet features several tributes to the custom car culture, including Tom Wolfe’s immortal essay, "The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby."
With numerous hot rod photos and an interview with custom car freak Jimmie Vaughan, it’s obvious that this collection was a labor of love for somebody over there at Rhino. As far as the music goes, let’s just say that there are nearly 90 numbers about automobiling and, although the collection misses out on several obvious requests, it’s still time to put the pedal to the metal. We’re talking about everything from Chuck Berry’s "Maybellene" to War’s "Low Rider" to Golden Earring’s "Radar Love" and countless other rock ’n’ roll, country and R&B car tunes to choose from. Of course, the collection includes several ’60s California classics like the Beach Boys’ "Little Deuce Coupe" and Jan and Dean’s "Dead Man’s Curve."
Yes, "Hot Rod Lincoln" is included, as well as songs about Mustangs, Chevrolets, GTOs, Corvettes, Cameros, Cadillacs and the like. What can I say? "I’m a Roadrunner, Baby."