Charlie Ryan with a famous hot rod
I was really glad to find this in St. Louis last weekend. It's the follow-up to Ryan's earlier recording of "Hot Rod Lincoln." For some reason, though, Johnny Bond actually had the hit during that period (and yes, I KNOW about Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen's 1972 hit version, so don't start, okay?), but Ryan and his crew pulled this sequel out of their hats to show what happens to those who hot rod a little too much.
In effect, they're shovelling coal for the Devil. Unfortunates who crash end up with ol' Scratch who has a long, pointed tail and "cracked a whip that's worse than jail." The Devil shows our narrator (himself a victim of a head-on collision with a truck) the hot rod section. "We're full, you see."
One priceless bit makes a well-deserved stab at a concurrent period hit, Ray Peterson's "Tell Laura I Love Her." The devil mentions some guy over there "yelling for Laura" and then telling him, "Aww shut up! Keep shovelin'!" Refferences are also made to two similar records, The Cheers' "Black Denim Trousers" and The Playmates' "Beep, Beep."
Ryan delivers this sad tale in a rhyming monotone backed with twangy guitar and appropriate sound effects, just as he did with "Hot Rod Lincoln." The story ends with our victim waking up from his dream (of course) and telling his papa that he can quit drinkin' "cause I'm jackin' up that Hot Rod Lincoln."
I'm not sure I'd count on that too much because Ryan recorded two albums worth of hot rod songs, both of which include "Lincoln," this song, "Side Car Cycle" and others. The B-side of this one, "Hot Rod Guitar," is just Ryan twangin' away on a country bop instro with sirens coming in behind him. Come to think of it, this one'd be a good soundtrack for one of those times you might decided to go on a Robert Mitchum-inspired moonshine run.