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He’s the most prolific session guitarist in music history, a master
of six-string twang and ax muscle. He’s JERRY COLE, the king of
hot rod guitar, and his astonishing six-decade career leaps from top
of the chart classics to over 100 gold and platinum recordings.
This isn’t retro or rockabilly, it’s the real thing. As
a charter member of session all-stars the Wrecking Crew, JERRY COLE
bent strings with everyone from the Byrds (Mr. Tambourine Man)
and Nancy Sinatra (These Boots Are Made for Walking) to the
Beach Boys (Pet Sounds) and Paul Revere & the Raiders (Kicks).
As performer, he and bandmate Glen Campbell headed The Champs after
Tequila shot up the charts. Cole was featured guitarist on
Shindig and Hullabaloo and backed up Elvis Presley
in 1974. His bandleader abilities were tapped by Frank Sinatra, Dean
Martin, Roger Miller, and Rick Nelson and he was a first-call guitarist
on TV show bands for Andy Williams, Sonny & Cher, the Smothers Brothers,
Laugh In, and Dick Van Dyke.
he matched Dick Dale on the surf turf, recording with the Stingers (Power
Surf) and the Spacemen (Surf Age). Cole also recorded
numerous instro albums under his own name and turned out the hotly collectible
Guitars A Go-Go series. Yet his most unheralded contribution
to modern rock is as King of the Hot Rod Guitar. While the Beach Boys
and Dick Dale were making waves with surf music, Cole was revving up
his guitar by making music to drive faster by. During the mid-Sixties
he recorded over a dozen albums of hot rod and dragstrip songs, music
that’s inspired and influenced bands from the Blasters to the
Cramps and Butthole Surfers.
While stand-alone record shops and the rare department store music section
offered the latest in vinyl, drugstores and grocery stores were a treasure
trove of gems by anonymous performers such as The Scramblers (Cycle
Psychos) and Billy Boyd (Twangy Guitars). The Blasters
(Sounds of the Drag) and Eddy Wayne (The Ping Pong Sounds
of Guitars in Percussion). The Winners. The Hot Rodders. The Deuce
Coupes (The Shut Downs). The Red Jackets (Surfers Beat).
The Id (The Inner Sounds of the Id). All were JERRY COLE.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll unearth Cole as an architect of
psychedelia with his proto-psych albums The Id and The
Animated Egg in 1966, and Astro Sounds from Beyond the Year
2000 with 101 Strings (!). A highly collectible vinyl recording
titled Organ Freakout by The Mustang actually featured JERRY
COLE with The Id.
The list of stellar names Cole worked with as guitarist, vocalist, writer,
arranger, producer, or bandleader is endless: Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison,
Aretha Franklin, the Righteous Brothers, Little Richard, Dean Martin,
Merle Haggard, Ray Charles, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Lou Rawls, Johnny
Rivers, Gregg Allman, Lee Hazelwood, Blood Sweat & Tears, Kenny
Rogers, Neil Diamond, Steely Dan, Isaac Hayes…
Cole’s self-released Back to the Boards CD in 2006 revisited
his beach days and the first installment of the JERRY COLE Crown Series
on Ace Records was released in November of that same year. 3 Balls of
Fire guitarist Burnin’ Mike Vernon is the series producer for
the Ace project, with a new volume on the way. The renewed interest
in JERRY COLE’s matchless body of work is, as the liner notes
for The Id so presciently noted in 1967, the Unshape of Things
to Come. Even 30 years later.
HDtracks for Jerry Cole & His Spacemen