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Hey Little Cobra


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Audio CD, August 20, 1996
$39.86 $19.88
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 20, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sundazed Music Inc.
  • ASIN: B000003GZM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,613 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Hey Little Cobra
2. Here I Stand
3. The Queen
4. 409
5. Trophy Machine
6. Gone
7. Little Deuce Coupe
8. '40 Ford Time
9. She Thinks I Still Care
10. Shut Down
11. Drag City
12. Ding Dong
13. Karen
14. Bunny Hill
15. Don't Be Scared

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Worldwide CD debut for one of this surf vocal outfit's two albums, originally released on Columbia in 1964 & now with three rare bonus tracks: 'Karen', 'Bunny Hill' and 'Don't Be Scared'. 15 tracks total. 1996 Sundazed release.

Amazon.com

The Rip Chords were essentially a false front behind which lurked future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston and Byrds/Paul Revere & The Raiders producer Terry Melcher. "Hey Little Cobra," a wimpier-than-usual hotrod record that benefits from Johnston and Melcher's full-bodied vocals, was their first big hit, generating a first album filled with unnecessary Beach Boys/Jan & Dean covers (four of 'em, plus an instrumental that basically rips off "Little Deuce Coupe") and a pretty good Melcher/Johnston, Spector-in-drag car tune, "Trophy Machine."

Much more intriguing is their guitar-heavy non-automotive material. "Here I Stand," their first single, updates Wade Flemons's 1959 Chicago R&B cha-cha with piercing, fruity falsetto and some vicious, loud guitar. "The Queen," which sadly isn't about a hotrodding RuPaul--she's a stuck-up Sting Ray driver--is vintage Dion goosed by queasy heights of falsetto. "Gone" sounds like the Isley Brothers' "Shout" with more tuff guitar, while "Ding Dong" is a doo-wop anticipation of "I Fought the Law." Post-album single/bonus track "Don't Be Scared" combines the Beach Boys' "Little Honda" and "Dance Dance Dance" with heavy fuzz. "She Thinks I Still Care," the Dickey Lee/George Jones country classic, is sped up Four Seasons-style with shredding guitar. And "Karen" (featuring the fabulous pun "I'm a fool for Karen") spices a mild Buddy Holly tune with killer destructo guitar from some anonymous L.A. Wrecking Crew stalwart. Fascinating genre-bending experiments, sadly never followed up. --Ken Barnes

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
Relax and enjoy the music!
Robert Z. Rush
When I'm driving in one of my custom cars, I always have a Rip Chords CD nearby.
Kevin Buchanan
There is much debate about who appeared on what album, at which time and when.
Daniel Frost

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Frost on February 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Next to Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds concept,this album is one of the best, high quality sounds ever recorded by a vocal group.Don't try to challenge me on this one.Just listen to the hot rod music and relax on the beach with your fold-out lawn chair.Three Window Coupe was better,but only because all four members including Melcher,Johnston,Bringas and Stewart were working together at once. There is much debate about who appeared on what album, at which time and when.That's where producers become very important and we all know Mulcher was tampering with some of the voices and cross-overdubbing by putting voices ontop of one another.I see nothing wrong with doing that.It sounds cool, but it's hard to tell who's which on what.You get my point bro? Terry Melcher and Bruce Johnston deserve a little bit of credit for the success of Hey Little Cobra, because they stepped in at a time when Bringas(one of the original members) was off becoming an educated man. Left with only Phil Stewart to pick on, I think they felt more in control of their work, and took their talent to a whole new level. It is very apparent when you listen to the #4 song in the nation, Hey Little Cobra,which of course says it all. Phil Stewart claims to be in it,but Bruce & Terry try to deny he ever had part in it. I give this second best album in the world (behind Pet Sounds) five plus stars and stripes. A must for any vintage rock and roll music collection. One last note before I go, none of my opinions are correct, but everything else is true. E-mail Dan with your thoughts. frostbirds@mediaone.net
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert Z. Rush on August 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Despite rumors to the contrary, The Rip Chords were not a "front" for Terry Melcher and Bruce Johnston, although their input was significant and they were/are brilliant producers. The Rip Chords (and especially "Hey Little Cobra") are examples of mid-century Americana, and millions agree that it is still great music. To over-intellectualize it would be doing it a great injustice. It was not recorded to make a statement, but to reflect the times, invoke fun and sell records, all of which it brilliantly accomplished. While The Rip Chords indeed owe much of their sound to the studio geniuses of the 60's L.A. scene, so do The Association, Grass Roots, Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, Mamas & Papas, Gary Lewis and countless other acts coming out of the L.A. scene at that time. That's just the way it was - and when you listen to all of this great music, aren't you glad?! Relax and enjoy the music!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Buchanan on November 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Whenever people remember great surf & hot rod music of the '60s, these days they almost always remember the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, and... nobody else. While these two groups indeed wrote the mega smash hits and were superb talent (in my book, the best band of all time isn't the Beatles, it's the Beach Boys), lots of great music goes largely unremember by all but the diehard fans. The Rip Chords are, in my opinion, the greatest of these forgotten bands. "Hey Little Cobra," their first album, despite the many Beach Boys and Jan & Dean covers, is a true classic. "Hey Little Cobra," "Here I Stand," "Trophy Machine," and the rest are pure good times. The Rip Chords have a great, unique sound; they were one of those rare collections of talent that doesn't come along every day. It's a shame they don't get the recognition they deserve. When I'm driving in one of my custom cars, I always have a Rip Chords CD nearby. My hot rod may only be a VW Karmann Ghia, but in my mind I'm sitting at the starting line, eyeing the Sting Ray Corvettes and Jaguar XKEs as the flag man unfurls the green...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lozarithm on February 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
"We've been going steady, and you've been making me cry. Now it's your turn baby, so I'm saying bye-bye". Over the sound of a revving engine Gracia Nitzsche from the Blossoms utters these iconic words at the start of Gone, before blasting away in a hot-rod into a new world of empowerment, leaving the Rip Chords standing alone on the corner, recalling the event in a frenzy of tattered emotion. When I first heard this on the radio in the stuffy environment of the BBC Light Programme in 1963, it seemed the perfect pop statement of a new era. It was the time of the surf and hot rod crazes, the Beach Boys, Phil Spector's Wall Of Sound and some new guys from Liverpool, but still a year before the Shangri-Las, and it made Birmingham, England, seem a million miles too far from California.

The Rip Chords were essentially originally Phil Stewart and Ernie Bringas, formerly known as the Opposites, augmented or replaced on record by producers Terry Melcher and Bruce Johnston and others, and backed by the top Los Angeles studio guys. Collectively referred to as the Wrecking Crew, they featured among their number Leon Russell, Steve Douglas, Glen Campbell, Carol Kaye, Earl Palmer and Hal Blaine, to name but a few.

Hey Little Cobra was released to capitalise on the US hit of the same name and also included the earlier singles Here I Stand, a revival of a minor hit by Wade Flemmons and the Newcomers from 1958, and Gone. The B-sides were The Queen, Karen and She Thinks I Still Care. The "Jackie" referred to in The Queen, is apparently the great Jackie DeShannon, then the girlfriend of Terry Melcher, apparently given to putting on airs, driving around in a Sting Ray, thinking she's a queen and treating everybody mean, according to this Dionesque ditty.
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