Rhythm & Views 

Arch Hall, Jr.and the Archers

Before becoming a successful commercial airline pilot, blonde pompadour-sporting guitarist Arch Hall Jr. was a budding teenage, no-budget film actor whose own frantic surf/R&B-derived songs accompanied the same chitlin' circuit movies he starred in.

Pushed into the sub-Hollywood film/music-biz scenario by his actor/impresario father, the barely legal Hall starred in six exploitation flicks from 1959-1964, including now-revered cult classics such as Wild Guitar, Eegah, and The Sadist.

Littered with outrageous film sound bites, this exhaustive 48-track collection (highlighted by trash-rock music archeologist Miriam Linna's 28-page booklet of colorful and fascinating biographical liner notes) features all of Hall's rarely heard, hipster-cool, beach-inspired rockers culled primarily from newly discovered master tapes of his earliest solo recordings. Plus, there's previously unreleased material showcasing his wild, frat-rock-influenced backing group, the Archers, live in 1962 at a Pensacola drive-in, and in 1964 at a Pasadena dance club.

Sun-kissed, surf-heavy instrumentals served as the soundtrack to Hall's Z-grade movies, his amateur acting and musical endeavors reflecting the lowest common denominator of the teenage market, intrinsic to the cheap motion pictures that flooded the drive-in market during the relatively innocent pre-Vietnam War years.

When listening, you definitely won't confuse Hall with Dick Dale or Bobby Fuller, but there is something inherently embraceable and down-to-earth about these rudimentary and rebellious string-bending episodes reflecting an era of grass roots perseverance, the impact of Elvis and the subsequent breakdown in the moral purity of youth.

More by Ron Bally


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