This was without doubt the first and greatest production in album terms that Jan Berry produced. With hardly any "filler" in sight, and a great line-up of Hot-Rod tracks this album had the word "Hit" written all of it from the very first track. In 1963 terms, this album was once again way ahead of it's competitors in production terms. The opening song Drag City had the sound of The Beach Boys, the production of a combination of Brian Wilson and Phil Spector and the balls of a giant bull! How many songs in 1963 opened with a car revving and felt like you were actually in that car draggin' down the strip? And to follow the song with I Gotta Drive, Drag Strip Girl and Surfin' Hearse was a totally gob-smacking, jaw-breaking experience for any fan of any music.
The version of Dead Man's Curve on this album sounds a bit rough because it was a rushed take, but fans need not have worried as a killer version was only a few months down the road! And what did it matter, with the crazy two-part fun-fest that was Dean's Schlock Rod (Parts 1 & 2) that followed it. This was a pure-genius (or pure NUTS) track that was split in two parts for the album and still raises a smile with people who listen to it today. Part 2 of that track kicks off side two of the album...
After side one's punch, you'd expect side two to be a little limp... Oh no, after Schlock Rod (Part 2) comes the amazingly catchy Popsicle, the funky Surf Route 101 and the weird yet wicked Sting Ray. All great tracks in their own right, followed by a cover of The Beach Boys Little Deuce Coupe (actually, it is The Beach Boys Mike Love singing here with J&D) and rounding off with the quite fun Hot Stocker.
All in all not a bad word to say about this album. A real pinnicle in Jan & Dean's cannon of albums, and one that every Jan & Dean fan should have the privilage of owning.