Saturday, June 11, 2005

Arch Hall Jr. and the Archers - Wild Guitar! CD (Norton)

Arch Hall Jr. might have had the lowest forehead in Hollywood, but he also had a namesake dad who wanted to make teen exploitation pix, so they strapped a guitar on the kid and made a series of truly insane low budget features, including Wild Guitar, The Sadist and Eegah, starring Richard Kiel as a caveman.

Arch Jr. was already a music and car fiend with a combo that played at pool parties, so it wasn’t such a huge stretch for him to star in their hot rod epic The Choppers (1959), with its soundtrack featuring one especially bat-shit track, the rockabilly/exotica fusion “Konga Joe.” The rest of the recorded music is entertaining, lo-fi teen rock, with a few fun touches like the moaning in the “Eegah” theme—there’s also an amusing 1962 live set recorded at a Florida drive-in while promoting Wild Guitar.

With well-chosen dialogue clips, radio trailers and Miriam Linna’s terrific notes packed with Arch Jr.’s frank recollections, Kim Fowley quotes and plenty of background on Arch Sr.’s early Hollywood hustles (pre-fab houses, an inept hauling biz, selling futuristic three-wheeled cars), this is an impressive package, and an inspiring portrait of an extended family who really made things happen DIY-style. Not many labels would put so much love into something so lowbrow… and what’s more lowbrow than Arch Hall Jr.?

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