Monday, June 9, 2008

Space-Age Surf Guitar And Hot Rod Inner Id Music

Jerry Cole (born Jerry Coletta in 1939), the so-called “King of the Hot Rod Guitar” and allegedly one of most frequently recorded session guitarists in American popular music, died on Wednesday, June 4 at his home in Corona, California, at age 68. In the Sixties Cole was a highly sought-after session player, lending his talents to records by the Byrds (“Mr. Tambourine Man”), Nancy Sinatra (“Boots”), the Beach Boys (Pet Sounds; one of the Leslie'd guitars on the instrumental "Pet Sounds" track was Cole's) and Paul Revere & the Raiders (“Kicks”) among others. With his own group, the Spacemen, Cole released four albums of “space-age surf music” beginning with Outer Limits (1963). More often, though, Jerry Cole was an anonymous member of a faux band, playing on numerous hot rod, drag strip, surf, go-go, rockabilly, and psychedelic albums for Capitol and Liberty but more often for budget labels such as Crown, Cornet, Custom, and Alshire. I did a rather quick web search and apparently all of the following one-offs were either Jerry Cole using a pseudonym or Jerry Cole as a member of the band. Many of these records are instrumental albums, dating 1960-67.

The Scramblers, Cycle Psychos
Billy Boyd, Twangy Guitars
The Blasters, Sounds of the Drag
Eddy Wayne, The Ping Pong Sound of Guitars in Percussion
The Winners, Checkered Flag
The Hot Rodders, Big Hot Rod
The Deuce Coupes, The Shutdowns
Mike Adams and the Red Jackets, Surfers Beat
The Id, The Inner Sounds of the Id (RCA)
The Animated Egg
The Mustang, Organ Freakout! (apparently Jerry Cole and the Id backing keyboardist Paul Griffin aka “The Mustang”)

Cole’s Myspace page avers that he “was an architect of psychedelia with his proto-psych albums The Id and The Animated Egg." If so, he represents an important link between the West Coast surf/hot rod "reverb" guitar and the distorted (“fuzz”) guitar so characteristic of early psychedelia. According to the Acid Archives at lysergia.com, Jerry Cole indicated that "the original tracks [used on The Animated Egg] were laid down during sessions for the Id Inner Sounds LP on RCA in 1966, then later sold to Alshire." Collectors and musicologists have identified these tracks, and others from the same sessions, as appearing on several LPs credited to different artists: Young Sound '68; 101 Strings, Astro-Sounds From Beyond the Year 2000; Bebe Bardon & 101 Strings, The Sounds of Love; The Haircuts and The Impossibles, Call it Soul; Black Diamonds, A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix [re-titled Animated Egg album with songs re-titled in order to invoke Hendrix song titles]; The Generation Gap, Up Up and Away; The Projection Company, Give Me Some Loving; and other budget label LPs. One critic referred to these tracks as "B movie trash psych with fuzz, reverb, and cheesy go-go organ." If you're interested, “Ah Cid" (get it?) from The Animated Egg can be found here.

Sundazed has re-issued on CD the albums by Jerry Cole and the Spacemen, but according to Cole's Myspace page, Sundazed also plans to re-issue The Animated Egg, Astro-Sounds From Beyond the Year 2000, The Inner Sounds of the Id, and other recordings.

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