A SHORT HISTORY & EVOLUTION OF
"HOT ROD LINCOLN"

by Joe Wajgel - (legjaw@earthlink.net)
updated: March 21, 2001

OF INTEREST - "HOT ROD BANDIT"
An MP3 by Tom Wayne (Tom Branch) (Rhett Wayne) rockabilly singer
who was on the Singleton Sun Label back in the 80s.
HotRodBanditTomWayne.mp3



THE HISTORY & EVOLUTION OF "HOT ROD LINCOLN" (revised Mar-12-2001)

In 1905, Billy Murray, a very popular singer of the time, recorded the
first known song about a car, "In My Merry Oldsmobile."  It hit the charts
on October 14th, eventually making it to the top spot, where it remained
for seven weeks.  Over the years, songs about cars, and car racing in
particular, continued, as America's love for the automobile increased.
During the thirties and forties, automobile clubs became popular among the
nation's teenagers.  Many of the young men in these organizations began
modifying their cars, either to make them go faster or look different, and
sometimes both.  These machines became known as "hot rods."  They inspired
not only a magazine ("Hot Rod", which was first published in 1947), but
a song titled "Hot Rod Race", variations of which continue to be recorded
to this very day.

There are many, many songs recorded over the years with the words "Hot Rod"
in them.  But reader beware, only a select few are genuinely connected to 
the original, which I will try to document here.  As far as I can discern,
Arkie Shibley recorded the first version of "Hot Rod Race" and it exploded 
upon the scene in late 1950/early 1951.  Four versions hit the charts in
1951, by Arkie Shibley, Ramblin' Jimmy Dolan, Red Foley and Tiny Hill.
There were uncharted versions by Bob Williams and Arthur Smith from the
same year, and possibly another by Rex Turner, so we can ascertain that
perhaps seven recordings of this song were released and/or made the charts
during the very early fifties.

HOT ROD RACE, as written by George Wilson:

     Now me and my wife and my brother Joe,
     took off in my Ford from San Pedro.
     We hadn't much gas 'n' the tires was low,
     but the doggone Ford could really go.

     Now along about the middle of the night,
     we were rippin' along like white folks might,
     when a Mercury behind he blinked his lights,
     and he honked his horn and he flew outside.

     We had twin pipes and a Columbia butt,
     you people may think that I'm in a rut,
     but to you folks who don't dig the jive,
     that's two carburetors and an overdrive.

     We made grease spots outta many good town,
     and left the cops heads spinnin' round 'n' round.
     They wouldn't chase, they'd run and hide,
     but me and that Mercury stayed side by side.

     Now we were Ford men and we likely knew,
     that we would race until somethin' blew,
     and we thought it over,
     now, wouldn't you?

     I looked down at my lovely bride,
     her face was blue, I thought she'd died.
     We left streaks through towns about forty feet wide,
     but me and that Mercury stayed side by side.

     My brother was pale, he said he was sick,
     he said he was just a nervous wreck.
     But why should I worry, for what the heck,
     me and that Mercury was still neck-and-neck.

     Now on through the deserts we did glide,
     a-flyin' low and a-flyin' wide,
     me an' that Mercury was a-takin' a ride,
     and we stayed exactly side by side.

     Now I looked in my mirror and I saw somethin' comin',
     I thought it was a plane by the way it was a-runnin'.
     It was a-hummin' along at a terrible pace,
     and I knew right then it was the end of the race.

     When it flew by us, I turned the other way,
     the guy in the Mercury had nothin' to say,
     for it was a kid, in a hopped up Model-A.
     
HOT ROD RACE by Arkie Shibley and His Mountain Dew Boys
written by George Wilson
Mountain Dew 101, 1950
Gilt Edge 101, 1950
Gilt Edge 5021, 1950
Billboard review date: 30-Dec-50 (Gilt Edge 5021)
Chart position: #5 Country

Arkie Shibley released the original on his own Mountain Dew label after
failing to interest Bill McCall at 4 Star Records.  Once the record began
to gain some sales, it was reissued with 4 Star's Gilt Edge imprint, with
the same number.  Finally, it was issued on the authentic Gilt Edge label,
and thanks to the 4 Star distribution system, it eventually charted.
Evidence of McCall's original disinterest can be found in another of
Arkie's records, "Arkie's Talking Blues:"

     So I went to 4 Star with a smile on my face, 
     I had a little tune called-a "Hot Rod Race."
     Bill McCall, he said it was no good, 
     I'd be better off a-cuttin' cord wood. 
     It hurt my feelings, he slammed the door,
     I went went up the streets talkin' to myself,
     But we recorded it though.

So about this time Arkie recorded the first version of "Hot Rod Race"
and released it on his own Mountain Dew label, with some local success.
The basic lineup of the Mountain Dew Boys was Arkie Shibley on rhythm
guitar, Leon Kelley on lead guitar, Jackie Hayes on bass & banjo, and Phil 
Fregon on the fiddle (there were no drums in C&W bands in those days).
The origins of this band are not completely clear.  Jackie Hayes came from
Oklahoma and Phil Fregon from Montana.  Arkie Shibley was from Arkansas
and all of the band members may have migrated to California, possibly
after WWII.  Evidence of Shibley's origins is unearthed in another
song he recorded, "Arkie's Letter From Home," which begins "I just got a
letter from ma, back in Arkansas."  Another line from "Arkie's Talking
Blues" reads "well my old man died, he left me in his will, all the papers
to his still, way back in the hills of Arkansas."  Communication with
Arkie's family has confirmed his Arkansas roots.

Leon Kelley may be the same artist as Leon Kelly who recorded "Rockaway"
b/w "You Put My Heart In Orbit" on Space 795 in 1959 as part of the
Starday Custom Package Deal series.  Some of Arkie's records include an
unnamed piano player (possibly George Wilson?).

HOT ROD RACE #2 by Arkie Shibley & The Mountain Dew Boys
written by Arkie Shibley, Leon Kelley & Jackie Hayes (Hays)
Gilt Edge 5030, 1951
Billboard review date: 03-Mar-51
Chart position: Did not chart

After the initial race, our hero finds that racing his Ford against the guy
in the Mercury has caused some major wear and tear on his car.  All that
racing side-by-side has left it in a sorry state, and he eventually decides
to trade it in.

     Now me and my wife and my brother Joe,
     are back home safe in San Pedro.
     My tires are wore out 'n' my gas is low,
     and my doggone Ford'll just barely go.

     My twin pipes are busted, I'm really in a rut,
     one carburetors a'leakin and the other one's stuck,
     my overdrive's slippin, it won't stand the pace,
     my oil she's a drippin' outta the busted crankcase.

     The top is tore 'n' it shore does leak,
     'n' the springs are stickin' up through the seat.
     The wind blew in and chilled my bride,
     but me and that Mercury stayed side by side.

     Now she rattles and smokes like an old diesel truck,
     I made it home though, I guess it was luck,
     'cause my bearings were busted, my radiator too,
     and my fan belt was broke 'bout half in two.

     My brother's still pale 'n' my wife's still sick,
     my old Ford's nothin' but a wreck,
     but I don't worry for what the heck,
     Me and that Mercury stayed neck-and-neck.

     A Ford's a good car, and mighty fast too,
     but this one is shot 'n' there's nothin' ta do,
     so I thought it over and here's what I'll do,
     I'm gonna trade it off, now wouldn't you?

     The guy that gets it, he's gonna be sore,
     an' he won't like me any more,
     but why should I worry, for what the heck,
     me and that Mercury stayed neck-and-neck.

     But we had a good race 'n' I'll remember the day,
     that me and that Mercury went out to play,
     an' there's one more thing I'd like to say,
     don't try to beat a kid in a hopped-up Model-A.

ARKIE MEETS THE JUDGE (HOT ROD RACE #3) by Arkie Shibley 
written by Arkie Shibley, Leon Kelley & Jackie Hayes
Gilt Edge 5036, 1951
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

Here our hero finds out that busting up his Ford wasn't the worst thing that
resulted from the race.  The law comes and gets him in the middle of the
night and throws him in the clink.  Once in the slammer, he finds that the
guy in the Mercury is in the same cell.  The cops couldn't find the kid in
the Model-A, and if they did, the probably couldn't catch him anyway.  He
begins to make plans to chase the kid down himself, with his own hopped-up
Model-A.

     Now me and my wife and my brother Joe,
     were home asleep in San Pedro,
     when the doorbell ring & I run to the door,
     there stood a cop, and he sure was sore.

     "You're under arrest, you're goin' to the klink,
     for wreckless drivin' and raisin' such a stink.
     So grab your hat and hurry, too,
     the judge wants to have a little talk with you."

     He put me in the wagon and locked the door,
     I thought I'd never see my wife no more.
     The cops finally got me but what the heck,
     me and the Mercury stayed neck-and-neck.

     We got to the station and he took me inside,
     the cop he told me it was the end of the ride.
     We went down the hall and opened the door,
     and there was the judge in the middle of the floor.

     He took my driver license and all my money too,
     and said "six months I'm a-givin' to you."
     But I don't care, but what the heck,
     me and that Mercury stayed neck-and-neck.

     Now I'm a-sittin' in my cell, all broken-hearted,
     and the six-months has barely started.
     But I'm not the only one that's feelin blue,
     'cause the guy that drove the Mercury is in here too.

     The cops is still looking both night and day,
     for the kid in the hopped-up Model-A.
     They say they'll catch him but I don't think its so,
     'cause that Model-A can fairly go.

     Now I'll be outta here in some of these days,
     'n' I'll hunt the kid in the Model-A.
     And he'll be the one that'll hafta pray,
     'cause I'm gonna get me a hopped-up Model-A.

HOT ROD RACE #4 (THE GUY IN THE MERCURY) by Arkie Shibley
written by George Wilson
Gilt Edge 5047, 1951
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

If you're following along here, and you've maybe jumped a little ahead to
the verses that follow, you will realize that this should probably have
been song #3 and reversed with the previous release.  I suspect what may
have happened was that Arkie never thought he'd take the epic this far.
Anyway, here's what happened to the guy in the Mercury after the race.

     You've heard'a the guy an' his brother Joe,
     who took off in their Ford from San Pedro,
     an' how they raced through deserts wide,
     with a Mercury that stayed right by their side.

     Now I'm the guy who was in that Merc,
     an' I'm callin' myself all kind of a jerk,
     for ever tryin' that kind've a race,
     I might have known I'd lose my face.

     But the road was straight 'n' the road was wide,
     'n' me 'n' that Ford stayed side by side.
     I stuck to him through thick an' thin,
     but I knew all the time I's riskin' my skin.

     When the hopped-up Model-A blew a'past,
     I wondered then how long it would last,
     but I didn't have too long to wait,
     to see what would happen, to learn my fate.

     The cop's heads, who spun in fright,
     got on their bikes an' took to flight.
     They came up behind me with a siren blast,
     I knew right then my fun had passed.

     The guy in the Ford kept racin' on,
     he was tryin' to catch that son-of-a-gun,
     who was drivin' that hot rod Model-A,
     but I didn't have a thing to say.

     Now I'm sittin' here alone in the klink,
     with plenty of time to wonder and think.
     I pace the floor, I frume an' fret,
     I don't even have a cigarette.

     Oh, why did I ever get in that race,
     to end up here in this awful place?
     Should have had more sense, is all I can say,
     don't ever race with a kid in a hopped-up Model-A.

HOT ROD RACE #5 (THE KID IN THE MODEL-A) by Arkie Shibley
written by Arkie Shibley
Gild-Edge 5054, 1951
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

We finally get the story from the kid's angle.  We find that our hero and
the guy in the Mercury didn't budge an inch.  But the kid in the hopped-up
Model-A was just having some fun with these guys.

     I'm just the kid from the hot rod race,
     the one that the cops wouldn't even chase.
     I didn't think they'd get so hot,
     I's just drivin' along in my hopped-up pot.

     When I saw two cars on the road ahead,
     a-racin' like mad, to myself I said,
     "I'll have some fun an' pass 'em by far,
     they think they're so hot in their brand new cars".

     I let her out a little bit more,
     I pushed the foot clean to the floor.
     "I'll show those guys who's in top place,
     I'll really give 'em a hot rod race.

     I bent a little further over the wheel,
     and felt the floorboard beneath my heel.
     I heard the sudden roar of my old exhaust pipe,
     I knew right then the race they'd fight.

     I rolled up behind 'em an' give 'em a blast,
     to let 'em know I's about to pass,
     but they didn't budge, and their wild, mad ride,
     they stayed ahead an' was side-by-side.

     So I took to the ditch to get by the flight,
     I scattered sand to the left and sand to the right.
     It didn't even slow their speed,
     my Model-A has what I need.

     Now I passed up the guys in that race,
     I've got us back to a normal pace.
     I got her by without a spill,
     whoa, boy, it was quite a thrill.

     If ya ever get mad at a hot rod kid,
     remember the things that once't you did,
     when you were young, carefree and gay,
     and had a hopped-up Model-A.

HOT ROD RACE by Tiny Hill
written by George Wilson
Mercury 5547, 1951
Billboard review date: 02-Dec-50
Chart position: #7 Country, #29 Pop

HOT ROD RACE #2 by Tiny Hill
Mercury 5598, 1951
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

Let's not get into the political correctness of each subsequent version
of this song.  I believe the importance today, viewed from five decades
later, is that so many artists and/or their record companies believed this
was important enough to cover.  It seems that most of the major labels of 
the time, and a few indies, decided it was hot enough to put out their own
versions.  Truth be known, this is a pop version, and Tiny Hill seems to
have little or no idea of what he is singing about.  I may examine this
version here at a later date.  For now, just assume this is the similar
to Pat Boone's version of Little Richard's "Tutti Fruiti".

HOT ROD RACE by Ramblin' Jimmie Dolan
written by George Wilson
Capitol 1322, 1950
Billboard review date: 09-Dec-50
Chart position: #7 Country

Capitol 1633 by Jimmie Dolan is also shown as "Hot Rod Race," and it is
the same recording as on Capitol 1322.  The flip side is a reissue of
"I'll Sail My Ship Alone" (originally on Capitol 952).  He recorded a
song called "Hot Rod Mama" (Capitol 2244), which is definitely NOT
another version of "Hot Rod Race/Lincoln."

After Ramblin' Jimmie Dolan covered "Hot Rod Race," Arkie returned the
favor with a cover of Dolan's "Playing Dominoes And Shooting Dice" (or
it may again been the other way around, I've not been able to date the
Shibley version).

HOT ROD RACE by Red Foley
written by George Wilson
Decca 46286, 1951
Billboard review date: 30-Dec-50
Chart position: #7 Country

Red Foley was apparently the fourth to cover this song, and he changed a few
lines, possibly to attract a larger crowd.  I'm still seraching for a copy
of this hit record.

HOT ROD RACE by Arthur Smith
written by George Wilson
MGM 10881, 1951
Billboard review date: 13-Jan-51
Chart position: Did not chart

Smith was the fifth in line to cover Shibley's song, coming out about two
weeks later.  I haven't heard this one, but knowing Smith's "Guitar
Boogie", you can be assured this was a hot item.  I have been told that
this is a vocal version as well.  Credited to Arthur Smith and his
Cracker-Jacks.  There are slight changes to the lyrics, i.e. "we had twin
pots and a Columbia clutch, and a speed no other car could touch."  It
should be noted that this has acoustic guitar and fiddle, not electric.

HOT ROD RACE by Rex Turner
Royale 140, 1951
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

Rex Turner recorded for Varsity in 1949 and then for Royale in 1951 ("Chew
Tobacco Rag"), so it's probable that this release is yet another cover of
the Arkie Shibley song, although I've not yet been able to find anyone
who has heard this version.

HOT ROD RACE by Bob Williams
Tennessee 735, 1951
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

HOT ROD RACE #2 by Bob Williams
Tennessee 756, 1951
Billboard review date: 07-Apr-51
Chart position: Did not chart

Bob Williams apparently tried to ride on the coattails of Shibley's hit,
and it would be seen that he would continue to either reissue or re-record
this song several times, none of which saw the light of day chart-wise.

HOT ROD RACE #3 by Bob Williams
Tennessee 771, 1951
Billboard review date: 19-May-51
Chart position: Did not chart

Shibley's #3 is titled "Arkie Meets The Judge" but the Williams' cover is
shown as simply "Hot Rod Race #3", and I haven't heard it so can't comment
on it's content.  I'd love to get my hands on a complete Bob Williams tape
or record, but he remains almost as elusive as Gene LaVerne.

HOT ROD-SHOTGUN BOOGIE #2 by Tllman Franks
Gotham 412, 1951
Billboard review date: 10-Nov-51
Chart position: Did not chart

Although frequently mentioned by writers, neither this song nor Tennessee 
Ernie Ford's "Don't Go Courtin' In A Hot Rod" have any direct relationship 
to Shibley's opus.  They may have been inspired by the hot rod craze that
was sweeping the country music airwaves around this time, but that's about
it.

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Charlie Ryan & The Livingston Brothers
written by Charlie Ryan
Souvenir 101, 1955
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

The most enduring of the answer records was "Hot Rod Lincoln" by 
Charlie Ryan & The Timberline Riders, which first saw open road in 
1955, attributed to Charlie Ryan & The Livingston Brothers on Ryan's 
own Souviner Records.  Ryan later told Pat Ganahl, editor of Rod and 
Custom magazine, that he and Shibley wrote their respective songs at 
about the same time in 1950, when they were both touring in the same 
area.  Ryan, who owned a real hot rod Lincoln with twelve cylinders, 
begins his road race in Lewiston, Idaho, going through to the top of 
the hill (where Chuck Berry would later catch Maybellene in her Coupe 
de Ville).
- Jim Dawson & Steve Propes: What Was The First Rock'n'Roll Record

There's some difference of opinion as to when this was actually recorded.
I'll stick with the generally accepted date of 1955.  The Souvenir label
was Charlie Ryan's own, possibly a custom pressing.  It was customary for
artists to sell their records at shows, and the Souvenir label suggests
that this is just what it implied, a souvenir of the show.  Nick Toshes,
in his book Country, wrote that "steel-guitarist Neal Livingston wrought
sounds of speed, sirens, and whiplash behind Ryan's tough boogie beat and
amphetamine vocal."

NAVY HOT ROD by Jack Rivers
Listen 1441, 1952
Billboard review date: 13-Sep-52
Chart position: Did not chart

I haven't much to go on here except what you see above.  I've never heard
it nor spoken to anyone who has, but the review date and title suggest that 
it may belong.  There was a Jack Rivers who recorded for Ron-Mar Records in
1956, but his real name was Jack Reeves and was given the Rivers monicker
by Uncle Buck Lipe for that record, so I'm sure it was not the same artist.
This Jack Rivers also had another release, Listen 1445, but I've not been
able to document this one either, except to note that it was reviewed in the
Religous/Sacred section of Billboard magazine two weeks later, on 27-Sep-52.
Neither of these records seems to be from the Listen label out of Roswell,
New Mexico (#681 & #691 by Al Sims,1958), which was part of the Starday
Custom Package Deal series.  There was also a Jack Rivers who recorded for
the Coral label in 1949-1950, and this may be the same guy.  My grandest
suspicion is that this record influenced or was possibly even covered by
the following record.

HOT ROD RACE NAVY STYLE by Mick Woodward
written by Roger Woodward
Universal Sheraton 1007, 1955
Billboard review date: 09-Apr-55
Chart position: Did not chart

Mick Woodward and his brother "Woody" were regulars on "New England's 
Original Hayloft Jamboree", which originated at WCOP-Boston.  Mick came
up with this variation of Arkie's song, giving it a naval theme.  It
is possible that Mick covered Jack Rivers' "Navy Hot Rod."

     Well me and my buddy, ol' Swabby Joe,
     took off in a can from ol' Sassbo.
     The chow was poor 'n' the fuel was low,
     but the doggone can could really go.

     Along about in the middle of the night,
     we were steamin' along like a tin can might,
     when a cruiser behind us blinked her lights,
     blew her whistle and pulled to the right.

     Well we had twin screws on our old can,
     which makes you think that we're in a jam,
     but f'you swabs who don't get this kinda jive,
     we had six boilers with overdrive.

     Now we're tin can men, and we likely knew,
     that we'd race all night, 'less somethin blew.
     The stern was down from the turn of the screws,
     as on through the waves we flew and flew.

     Our exec was pale, he said he was sick,
     but us tin can men knew he was just a hick.
     Why should we worry, what the heck,
     that cruiser 'n' us were still neck-and-neck.

     Yes on through the ocean we did glide,
     a'flyin' low with the throttle wide.
     Our skipper screamed and the crew they cried,
     but the doggone cruiser was still right beside.

     Well we looked over the fantail, where sumpin' was a comin'
     we thought it was a jet by the way it was a hummin'.
     It was a'comin' along at a terrible pace,
     and we knew right then was the end of this race.

     As it steamed passed us we looked the other way,
     and the cruiser's crew, they had nothin' to say.
     For there goin' by was a reserve JG,
     pushin' a hopped-up LST.

HOT ROD BOOGIE by Dorse Lewis
written by Dorse Lewis
Cozy 398, (mid-'50s)
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

If you've ever heard Johnny Cash's song "One Piece At A Time" or Guy 
Drake's "Welfare Cadillac", you'll better understand this song.  It's
about a guy putting a car together piece-by-piece.  Dorse Lewis' opus
is definitely directly related to Arkie Shibley's original song.

     Rock It Boys!
 
     Now I went to the junk yard the other day,
     Justta take a load a scrap iron away.
     Now I got off to a pretty good start,
     when I traded my junk for some used car parts.
     I took 'em home and I never stopped
     'n' I put 'em together, and here's what I've got,
     (setta dice...shake, rattle and roll, roll 'er boys)

     Now, the cab and chassis of a model-A,
     and the springs and shackels of a Chevrolet.
     A Mercury motor and a Dodge rear end,
     and the fenders off an old Terraplane.
     Fuel pump off a GMC and the windshield off an ol' Model-T.
     Two big axles, one-a them dead, 
     off a Studebaker 'n' a President (split axles makes it boogie).

     Now, it's got a Crosley tire and a Cadillac tube,
     a Buick carbureter and a Henry J hood (all parts interchange).
     Plymouth radiator and Chrysler lights,
     'n' a generator off an old Willys Knight.
     The gearshift up on the steering wheel,
     and the emergency off an Olds-O-Mobile, a Rocket 88 (rock it boys).

     Now it's got the Kaiser looks 'n' the Frazer shape,
     a Pontiac horn 'n' Packard licence plates (violatin').
     When I flunged it together I had a lot of fun,
     everybody asked me, "do you think that'll run?"
 
     Well I got it to run and I started to town,
     and a motorcycle cop aimed to chase me down.
     I knew he's close't, I could see in the mirror, 
     I said "heck, bud, I'm still in second gear."
 
     So I give it the gas, 'n' with m'double clutch,
     and I left him not a-makin' much (about a hunderd and four).
     When the speedometer hit a hunderd and five,
     I felt it drop into overdrive,
     and then it started viberatin', shimmyin' 'n' goin' inta the boogie.

     Now its top speed I'd hate to try to tell,
     because I think it's faster'n jet propelled.
     Don't ask me to buy 'cause I won't sell my Hot Rod,
     but if you want to take a ride just drop me a line,
     If you got the money honey, I've got the time (we'll go hotroddin').

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Charlie Ryan & The Timberline Riders
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
4 Star 1733, 1959
Billboard review date: 26-Oct-59
Chart position: #14 Country, #33 Pop

Although Jim Dawson & Steve Propes wrote in 1992 that Johnny Bond had
recorded "Hot Rod Lincoln" prior to Charlie Ryan's version, I find that
the Ryan recording was reviewed on 26-Oct-59, while Bond's wasn't reviewed
until 20-Jun-60, a full eight months later.  Ryan's version debuted on
the charts on 09-May-60, while Bond didn't hit until 08-Aug-60, so it is 
apparent that Ryan started the revival.  Dawson & Propes also mentioned
that Bond's version charted C&W, which I have not been able to confirm.

HOT ROD LINCOLN, as written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson:

     Well you've heard the story of the hot-rod race that fatal day,
     when the Ford and the Mercury went out to play.
     This is the inside story I'm here to say,
     I was the kid that was a-drivin' that Model-A.

     It's got a Lincoln motor and it's really souped up,
     and that Model-A body makes it look like a pup.
     It's got twelve cylinders, and uses them all,
     with an overdrive that just won't stall.

     It's got a four-barrel carb and dual exhaust,
     4-11 gears, she can really get lost.
     Got safety tubes and I'm not scared,
     the brakes are good and the tires are fair.

     We left San Pedro late one night,
     the moon and the stars were shining bright,
     everything went fine up the Grapevine hill,
     we was passin' cars like they was standin' still.

     Then all of a sudden, like a flick of an eye,
     a Cadillac sedan had passed us by.
     The remark was made "there's the car for me,"
     but by then the taillights were all you could see.

     Well the fellers ribbed me for bein' behind,
     so I started to make that Lincoln unwind.
     I took my foot off the gas and man alive,
     I shoved it down into overdrive.

     Well I wound it up to a hundred and ten,
     twisted the speedometer cable off the end.
     I had my foot keyed clear to the floor,
     said "that's all there is, there ain't no more."

     I went around a corner and I passed a truck,
     I whispered a prayer, just for luck.
     The fenders was clickin' a guardrail post
     the guys beside me were white as a ghost.

     I guess they'd thought I'd lost my sense,
     the telephone poles looked like a picket fence.
     They said "slow down, I see spots,"
     the lines on the road just looked like dots.

     Smoke was rollin' outta the back,
     when I started to gain on that Cadillac.
     I knew I could catch him, and hoped I could pass,
     But when I did, I'd be short on gas.

     We went around a corner with the tires on the side,
     you could feel the tension, man what a ride!
     I said "hold on, I got a license to fly,"
     and the Cadillac pulled over and let me go by.

     Then all of a-sudden, the rods started knockin',
     when down in the dip, she started a-rockin'.
     I looked in my mirror 'n' red lights was blinkin'.
     The cops was after my hot rod Lincoln.

     Well, they arrested me, and put me in jail.
     I called my pop to go my bail.
     He said "son, you're gonna drive me to drinkin'
     if you don't stop drivin' that hot rod Lincoln."

HOT ROD RACE by Bob Sandy
Tops 277, 1959
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

I haven't heard this, could be a totally different song.  Then again,
this could be yet another cover version.  This is the same label on which
George Jones released "Blue Suede Shoes" b/w "Heartbreak Hotel" as by
Hank Smith (Tops 279), so it appears that the Tops label specialized in
cover versions of hit songs, although by 1959 "Hot Rod Race" was far and
away at best a golden oldie.  My guess here is that this was released
after Charlie Ryan popularized "Hot Rod Lincoln."

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Johnny Bond
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
Republic 2005, 1960
Billboard review date: 20-Jun-60
Chart position: #26 Pop

"Hot Rod Lincoln" escaped notice until 1960, when veteran country 
musician Johnny Bond recorded a new version - with eight cylinders 
instead of twelve - for Gene Autry's Republic label.  With West Coast 
airplay, it charted as both a country and pop hit.  4 Star Records got 
Ryan and his band back in the studio to re-record "Hot Rod Lincoln" 
and released it to compete with Bond.  The two Lincolns raced each 
other up Billboard's Hot 100.
- Jim Dawson & Steve Propes: What Was The First Rock'n'Roll Record

This suposition has since been disputed, and I now believe that Charlie 
Ryan was the first to race up Grapevine Hill.

     Now you've heard the story of the hot-rod race,
     where the Ford and the Mercury was settin' the pace.
     That story is true, I'm here to say,
     'cause I was a-drivin' that Model-A.

     Got a Lincoln motor and it's really souped up,
     and that Model-A body makes it look like a pup.
     Got eight cylinders, 'n uses them all,
     'n overdrive that just won't stall.

     Got a four-barrel carb and dual exhaust,
     4-11 gears, it can really get lost.
     Got safety tubes and I'm not scared,
     the brakes are good and the tires are fair.

     We left San Pedro late one night,
     the moon and the stars was shining bright,
     everything went fine up the Grapevine hill,
     we was passin' cars like they was standin' still.

     All of a sudden, like the flick of an eye,
     a Cadillac sedan had passed us by.
     The remark was made "there's the car for me,"
     but by then the taillight was all you could see.

     Well the fellers ribbed me for bein' behind,
     so I thought I'd make that old Lincoln unwind.
     took my foot off the gas and man alive,
     I shoved it down into overdrive.

     Wound it up to a hundred and ten,
     twisted the speedometer cable off the end.
     I had my foot keyed clear to the floor,
     said "that's all there is, there ain't no more."

     Went around a corner and I passed a truck,
     crossed my fingers, just for luck.
     The fenders clickin' a guardrail post
     'n guys beside me, white as a ghost.

     I guess they'd thought I'd lost my sense,
     the telephone poles looked like a picket fence.
     Said "slow down, I see spots,"
     the lines on the road they looked like dots.

     Smoke was rollin' outta the back,
     when I started to gain on that Cadillac.
     I knew I could catch him, and hoped I could pass,
     But when I did, I'd be outta gas.

     Went around a corner, the tires on the side,
     you could feel the tension, man what a ride!
     I said "hold on, I got a license to fly,"
     and the Cadillac pulled over and let me by.

     All of a-sudden, the rods started knockin',
     down in the dip, it started ta-rockin'.
     I looked in the mirror, the red lights was blinkin'.
     The cops was after my hot rod Lincoln.

     They arrested me, and put me in jail,
     I called my pop to go my bail.
     He said "son, you're gonna drive me to drinkin'
     if you don't stop drivin' that hot rod Lincoln."

HOT ROD RACE by Bob Williams
written by George Wilson
Spin 989/Cumberland 106, 1960
Billboard review date: 15-Aug-60 (Spin 989)
Chart position: Did not chart

Bob Williams was from Arizona, and perhaps he wasn't as sensitive as the 
fellows above, because he recorded the song just the way it was 
originally written, using the offensive phrase "rippin' along like 
white folks might."  He also left out the verse about his lovely bride.
- Jim Dawson & Steve Propes: What Was The First Rock'n'Roll Record

     Now me and my wife and my brother Joe,
     took off in my Ford from San Pedro.
     We hadn't much gas, the tires was low,
     but that old Ford could really go.

     It was somewhere along about the middle of the night,
     we were rippin' along like white folks might,
     when a Mercury behind began to blink his lights,
     he honked his horn and he blew outta sight.

     He had twin pots and a Columbia clutch,
     'n speed that no other car could touch,
     an' to you folks who don't dig the jive,
     that's two carburetors and an overdrive.

     We made grease spots outta many good town,
     and left the cops runnin' round 'n' round.
     They wouldn't chase, they'd run and hide,
     but me and that Mercury stayed side-by-side.

     Now we were Ford men and we both knew,
     that we would race 'til somethin' blew,
     my car shook and the engine cried,
     but me and that Mercury stayed side-by-side.

     My brother was pale, he said he was sick,
     to me he looked like a nervous wreck.
     But why should I worry, and what the heck,
     me and that Mercury was neck to neck.

     Now out on the desert we did glide,
     a-flyin' along and a-flyin' wide,
     me an' that Mercury was a-takin' a ride,
     and stayin' exactly side-by-side.

     I looked through the mirror and I saw somethin' comin',
     I thought it was a plane from the way it was a-hummin',
     it was a-hummin' along at a terrible pace,
     and I knew right then it's the end of the race.

     When it flew by I turned the other way,
     and the guy in the Mercury had nothin' to say,
     for passin' us up as it went our way
     was a kid in a hopped up Model-A.

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Bill Wooley
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
Brigade THC-10-3, 1960
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

This track is found on a six-song EP from Harrison, New Jersey.  The
other titles give a clue as to what was going on here:

"Kiddio" by Brother Ray
"Volare" by Pete Studer
"Mission Bell" by J.T. Bruce
"The Twist" by Beanie Topps
"So Sad" by The Parkers

Yes, these are cover versions of popular titles, recorded and released
in the hopes that the unknowing buyer would purchase them instead of the
real deal.  Judging by these titles, my estimate is this was issued in
1960, probably toward the end of summer or perhaps even a bit later.

The kid singing here is obviously from New England (he actually sounds 
like a young JFK), and the lyrics are almost identical to Charlie 
Ryan's, although the guitars in the back, while professional-sounding, 
play it as straight as possible.  I doubt this record piled up many sales.

HOT ROD RACE by Charlie Ryan
written by George Wilson
4 Star 1751, 1961
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart

Charlie's cover of Arkie Shibley's song is more faithful to the 
original than his answer, "Hot Rod Lincoln."  Here he changes that 
now famous racist line from "rippin' along like white folks might" 
to "rippin' along like nice folks might," and alters the last verse,
along with some other minor changes.

     Now me and my wife and my brother Joe,
     took off in my Ford from San Pedro.
     We hadn't much gas, the tires were low,
     that dag-blamed Ford could fairly go.

     Now along about the middle of the night,
     we were rippin' along like nice folks might,
     when a Mercury behind me blinked his lights,
     he honked his horn and he flew outside.

     We had twin pipes and a Columbia butt,
     you people may think that I'm in a rut,
     but to you folks who don't dig the jive,
     that's two carburetors and an overdrive.

     We made grease spots outta many good towns,
     and left the cops heads spinnin' round 'n' round.
     They wouldn't chase, they'd run and hide,
     but me and that Mercury stayed side-by-side.

     Now we were Ford men and we likely knew,
     that we would race until somethin' blew,
     my foot feet was down, like they're stuck with glue,
     through many the town, we flew and flew.

     I looked down at my lovely bride,
     her face was blue, I thought she'd died,
     left streaks through town 'bout forty feet wide,
     but me and that Mercury stayed side-by-side.

     My brother was pale, he said he was sick,
     he said he was just a nervous wreck.
     But why should I worry, for what the heck,
     me and that Mercury was still neck t' neck.

     Now on through the deserts we did glide,
     a-flyin' low and a-flyin' wide,
     me an' that Mercury was a-takin' a ride,
     and we stayed exactly side-by-side.

     I looked at my mirror and I saw somethin' comin',
     an' I thought it was a plane by the way it was a-runnin',
     hummin' along at a terrible pace,
     and I knew right then it was the end of the race.

     When it flew by us, I turned the other way,
     'n the guy in the Mercury had nothin' to say,
     it was nothin' but kid, he was wantin' to play,
     he was drivin' a hopped up Model-A.

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
ABC-Paramount 0146, 1972
Billboard review date: 25-Mar-72
Chart position: #9 Pop, #51 Country

Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen were one of the first bands to 
combine elements of western swing, rockabilly and truck-drivin' country 
and get results over to a mass audience.  Their version of "Hot Rod 
Lincoln" proved that they were no staid purists when it came to putting 
a little drive in their brand of country.  With the advent of MTV, "Hot 
Rod Lincoln" was put to video.  Their version begins with a re-write of 
the Charlie Ryan/Johnny Bond final line: "My pappy said, 'son, you're 
gonna drive me to drinkin, if you don't stop drivin' that hot rod Lincoln'"
- Jim Dawson, Steve Propes, Mark Deaver & Cub Koda

     My pappy said "Son, you're gonna drive me to drinkin',
     if you don't stop drivin' that Hot Rod Lincoln."

     Have you heard the story of the hot rod race,
     where the Fords 'n' Lincolns was settin' the pace?
     That story is true, I'm here to say,
     that I was drivin' that Model-A.

     It's got a Lincoln motor and it's really souped up,
     that Model-A body makes it look like a pup.
     It's got eight cylinders and uses 'em all,
     got overdrive, just won't stall.

     With a four-barrel carb and a dual exhaust,
     with 4-11 gears you can really get lost.
     Got safety tubes but I ain't scared,
     the brakes are good, tires fair.

     Pulled outta San Pedro late one night,
     the moon 'n' the stars was shinin' bright.
     We was drivin' up Grapevine hill,
     passin' cars like they was standin' still.

     All of a sudden in the wink of an eye,
     Cadillac sedan passed us by.
     I said "Boys that's the mark for me,"
     by then the tailight was all you could see.

     Now the fellas ribbed me for bein' behind,
     so I thought I'd make the Lincoln unwind.
     Took my foot off the gas'n'man alive,
     I shoved it on down into overdrive.

     Wound it up to a hunderd an' ten,
     my speedometer said that I hit top end.
     My foot was glued like lead to the floor,
     that's all there is an' there ain't no more.

     Now the boys all thought I'd lost my sense,
     them telephone poles looked like a picket fence.
     They said "slow down, I see spots,"
     the lines on the road just looked like dots.

     Took a corner'n'side-swiped a truck,
     crossed my fingers just for luck.
     My fenders was clickin' the guardrail posts,
     the guy beside me was white as a ghost.

     Smoke was comin' from outta the back,
     when started t' gain on that Cacillac.
     Knew I could catch him, I thought I could pass,
     don'tcha by then we'd be low on gas.

     We had flames comin' from outta the side,
     you could feel the tension, man whatta ride.
     I said "look out boys, I got a license to fly,"
     and that Caddy pulled over and let us by.

     Now all of a sudden she started knockin'
     down in the dip she started to rock.
     And I looked in the mirror, a red light was blinkin',
     the cops was after my hot rod Lincoln.

     They arrested me 'n' they put me in jail,
     'n they called my pappy to throw my bail,
     'n he said "son you're gonna drive me ta drinkin'
     if you don't stop drivin' that hot rod Lincoln.

For the most part, the lyrics stayed pretty close to Ryan's, with a
minor alteration here and there.

And just to show what a great country this is, MTV, the transister 
radio of the "X" generation, aired a music video of the Commander's 
performance in the early nineties.  The kids no doubt had no idea they 
were enjoying a rockabilly song that originated in 1950.  If they had 
known, they most likely wouldn't have cared.  Hell, they probably 
didn't/don't know what rockabilly was/is anyhow.  But it was a strong 
enough hit with them that it achieved aclaim as one of the top videos 
of the year.  Yeah, these kids were hip alright.  I suspect that this 
song may never die, and that it may soon be reincarnated once again 
unto a new generation of rockers as yet undefined (perhaps a rap 
version?).  It is documented here in hopes that it will be remembered 
by those who have enjoyed it through the fifty years that it has 
so far survived.

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Keith Owens
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
Home Cooking (?)
Billboard review date: Not reviewed
Chart position: Did not chart
     
As of this moment, I have no idea who this artist is.  It appears as 
though Owens attempted a cover version of Commander Cody's cover.  It
starts out with that famous final line, and the lyrics are almost, but
not quite, the same.  Check out the lyrics closely, you'll notice a few
differences (but only a few).

     My pappy said "Son, you're gonna drive me to drinkin',
     if you don't stop drivin' that Hot Rod Lincoln."

     Well have you heard the story of the hot rod race,
     with the Fords 'n' Lincolns really settin' the pace?
     That story is true, I'm here to say,
     I was drivin' that Model-A.

     It's got a Lincoln motor and it's really souped up,
     that Model-A body makes it look like a pup.
     It's got eight cylinders and 'e uses 'em all,
     got overdrive, just won't stall.

     With four-barrel carb and a dual exhaust,
     with 4 gears you can really get lost.
     Got safety tubes but I ain't scared,
     the brakes are good, tires fair.

     Pulled outta San Pedro late one night,
     when the moon 'n' the stars was shinin' bright.
     We was drivin' up Grapevine hill,
     passin' cars like they was standin' still.

     All of a sudden in the wink of an eye,
     A Cadillac sedan passed us by.
     I said "Boys that's the mark for me,"
     by then the tailights was all you could see.

     Now the fellas ribbed me for bein' behind,
     so I thought I'd make the Lincoln unwind.
     Took my foot off the gas'n'man alive,
     I shoved it on down into overdrive.

     Wound it up to a hunderd an' ten,
     my speedometer said that I hit top end.
     My foot was glued like lead to the floor,
     that's all there is an' there ain't no more.

     Now the boys all thought I'd lost my sense,
     them telephone poles looked like a picket fence.
     They said "slow down, I see spots,"
     the lines on the road just looked like dots.

     Took a corner'n'side-swiped a truck,
     crossed my fingers just for luck.
     My fenders was clickin' the guardrail posts,
     the guy beside me was white as a ghost.

     Smoke was comin' from outta the back,
     when started t' gain on that Cacillac.
     Knew I could catch him, I thought I could pass,
     don'tcha by then we'd be low on gas.

     We had flames comin' from outta the side,
     feel the tension, man whatta ride.
     I said "look out boys, I got a license to fly,"
     and that Caddy pulled over and let us by.

     Now all of a sudden she started knockin'
     down she dips, she started rockin'.
     I looked in the mirror, a red light was blinkin',
     those cops were after my hot rod Lincoln.

     They arrested me 'n' they put me in jail,
     they called my pappy to throw my bail,
     'n he said "son you're gonna drive me ta drinkin'
     if you don't stop drivin' that hot rod Lincoln.

And so, let's move on to the rest of the story, endlessly perpetuated 
by it's greatest promoter, Charlie Ryan.

THE STORY CONTINUES:

Like Arkie Shibley, Charlie Ryan seems to have recorded an endless number
of songs based upon the same theme.  He also managed to have issued two
albums of hot rod songs around the peak of his popularity:

HOT ROD by Charlie Ryan
King LP 751, 1961

Hot Rod Lincoln/Side Car Cycle/Hot Rod Hades/Burlington Chase/Hot Rod
Harley/I Married The Gal (With the Cycle)/Hot Rod Race/The Doggone
Recession/Thru The Mill/Chicken House Boogie/The Dart And The Lincoln/
Steel Rock

The liner notes read:

"This album has a 3/4 cam, two four-barrel carbs, a hot ignition, a
270 block, 456 rear end and twin straight stacks. That's about as
sooped up as you can get.

Charlie Ryan, the most famous of the musical story tellers about hot
rodders, gooses up his most popular yarns for this group. In fact,
by playing three of them one after the other, you can wind up with
the story of the life of one hot rodder.  In the "Hot Rod Lincoln"
he gets put in jail for speeding, drives his dad to drink and
finally gives up hot rodding. In "Side Car Cycle" he falls in love
with a speedster and marries her.  In "Hot Rod Hades" he has an
accident, dies and winds up in the place specified by the title.

All of these songs are sure to provide great home entertainment.
We have assembled the recordings that we feel will best "show off"
the wonderful talents this fine artist possesses,  Among them are
fresh, new tunes in addition to the "Hot Rod" hits.  In fact, some
of the new ones are even additions to this famous series, such as
"Hot Rod Harley", "Hot Rod Race", "The Dart and the Lincoln" and
"I Married the Gal with the Cycle".

All through this album Charlie sets a dizzy pace for himself and
carries his listeners right along with him through every exciting
moment of the race. These are breath-taking, hair-raising
experiences that you will never forget. Music not "to relax to"
but music that will hae you hanging onto your chair at every
screeching two wheel turn.

HOT ROD LINCOLN DRAGS AGAIN by Charlie Ryan
Hilltop LP 6006, 1964

While I don't have this LP, I believe the tracks are about the same.
I do know someone who does have it, and I'll compare and update soon.

And 4 Star kept issuing singles by Ryan in an obvious attempt to build
on his hit, without much success.

HOT ROD HADES by Charlie Ryan
written by Charlie Ryan, W.S. Stevenson & L. Sullivan
4 Star 1749, 1960
Billboard review date: 23-Jan-61
Chart position: Did not chart

Here our hero crashes ("tried to cut between two headlights there, 
'til I found out they was a matchin' pair") and ends up in "Hot Rod 
Hades" (couldn't say "hell" back then).  His life flashes before him 
("I lived my life over just before the crash, every chance I ever took 
went by in a flash").  He ends up in the hot rod section, where he 
runs into a guy who keeps moaning "Tell Laura I Love Her" and "a Nash 
Rambler guy we called 'second gear', finally got in high, and he 
landed here," as well as another guy in "Black Denim Trousers."  But 
it turns out to be just a dream, and when he wakes up, he tells his 
pop that he can stop drinkin', 'cause he's jackin' up that hot rod 
Lincoln.

The flip side of this record is titled "Hot Rod Guitar" and what it
is is basically an instrumental version of "Hot Rod Lincoln."  Joe
Maphis, that California double-neck guitar wizard, also recorded an
instrumental by this same title (Starday 683, 1964), although the
writing credits are given to Johnny Bond & Joe Maphis, which only
adds to the confusion.

BURLINGTON CHASE by Charlie Ryan
Written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
King LP 751, 1961

He goes cruisin' around "Tennessee, Kentucky & Caroline, the Smokey 
Mountains sure looked fine."  The Burlington Limited passes him by, 
and the engineer has racing blood.  The kid runs out of gas, but he 
finds out from a local hillbilly that moonshine has plenty of spark, 
so he arranges to purchase some and then "poured most of the 
squeezin's into the tank, except for a swig or two that I drank."  He 
races the train, although he's a little bit high, and discovers that 
"mountain dew" works just fine in the hot rod Lincoln.

As a sidenote here, I find that this was not an original idea. as
witnessed by a song titled "Hadacol Boogie," which actually predates
Arkie Shibley's "Hot Rod Race," and talks about adding Hadacol to not
only the gas tank of a car, but putting it in the feed of livestock as
well.

SIDE CAR CYCLE by Charlie Ryan
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
4 Star 1745, 1960
Billboard review date: 10-Oct-61
Chart position: #84 Pop

Next thing you know it, he runs into (almost literally) a girl on a 
Harley.

     It was late in the evening and the moon was pale,
     I was puttin'' the miles between me and jail.
     The gal on the cycle was cruisin' along,
     I was mindin' my business & singin' a song.

He notices that she is "stacked like a sack of barley."  She tries to 
keep up with the hot rod Lincoln, but ends up in the lake.  It's love 
at first sight, and they begin planning their honeymoon.

HOT ROD HARLEY by Charlie Ryan
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
King LP 751, 1961

They begin to make marriage plans.  He takes the Harley out for a 
ride.  "It smoked and whined like any old Harley, but I'm tellin' you, 
it didn't parley."  The Highway Patrol picks him up, and he ends up 
with a six-month sentence.  He decides that if the gal is still 
waitin' for him when he get's out, he's gonna marry her and settle 
down.

I MARRIED THE GAL (WITH THE CYCLE) by Charlie Ryan
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
King LP 751, 1961

He marries the gal with the side-car cycle, and begins to experience the 
difficulties of being a husband.  Pretty soon she's pregnant, and 
needs a nurse.  He has to sneak into the house at night.  The cycle is 
in hock, and he might have to sell it to pay the bills.  She get's 
sore if he goes out racing the hot rod Lincoln, 'cause they can't 
afford the tickets.  Going domestic, he learns how to build picket 
fences.  He looks back on his life and knows he's lucky to have 
married the gal.  But he's still thinkin' about racin' that hot rod 
Lincoln, especially when he see's the State Patrol drivin' around in a 
new Dodge Dart.

DART AND THE LINCOLN by Charlie Ryan
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
King LP 751, 1961

He and the State Patrol have to find out who's got the fastest car.  
He's now got "twelve speeds forward and three in reverse, we didn't 
know if it was better or worse."  The Patrol had a Dart that weighed 
4,200 pounds, twice as much as the hot rod Lincoln.

     Don't let anyone tell you the Dart ain't a dream,
     they'll outrun anything I've ever seen.
     But we found out 'n' we'll never tell,
     that hot rod Lincoln'd go faster than...
     ...they could go in the Dart.

So that's the  of the story of "Hot Rod Race/Lincoln."  But wait, we 
aren't finished yet!  Ryan's old nemesis, Johnny Bond, in an attempt 
to tap onto jet-age popularity, recorded a story about hot roddin' in
a jet plane.

X-15 by Johnny Bond
written by Johnny Bond
Republic 2008, 1960
Billboard review date: 24-Oct-60
Chart position: Did not chart

     Gather 'round you cat's'n'you'll hear,
     about a race I had in the stratosphere.
     Ol' Joe had a slick jet, I mean,
     and I flew a souped-up X-15.

     Now don't tune me out, I know what you're a-thinkin',
     'n I ain't gonna bug ya with no Hot Rod Lincoln.
     No, that was a long time ago,
     by my grandad back in nineteen six-oh.

     But now it's a-nineteen'n'ninety seven,
     we raced our jets next door to heaven,
     So if you're ready I'll start at the top,
     once I get a-goin' I won't wanna stop.

     Well they fastened our jets up under the wing,
     of one of them big B70 things,
     lifted us up to 80,000 feet,
     where the atmosphere and the stratosphere meet.

     Well, they cut us loose, and we cut away out,
     broke the sound barrier, there's not doubt.
     Gave her the gun, heard the motors purr,
     revved her up to 4,000 per.

     Off to my left, ol' Joe was a-whistlin',
     he was doin' okay in that rocket of hizzin',
     it was half past two when we left Nevada,
     now passin' below, Denver, Colorada.

     I noticed I was fallin' a little behind,
     so I thought I'd make this ol' turtle unwind.
     This little baby is sweeter than sweet,
     at a hundred and forty-four thousand feet.

     Now this X-15 is a goin' thing,
     got two little stubs, they call it a wing,
     won't help you much if the motor stalls,
     hey, lookie below, Niagra Falls.

     I kept goin' up on a two-degree course,
     ol' Joe kept comin', he weren't ridin' no horse,
     I noticed my (?) was a-makin' comotion,
     about the time we reached the Atlantic ocean.

     Now 'long about here, supposed to turn 'em around,
     and gather more speed as we angle 'em down.
     Sumpin' had happened, I heard a loud pop,
     looked out in time to see both motors stop.

     Now this little dip wasn't wrote in the script,
     when them jets went out I nearly quit.
     'cause when this dang thing starts to fall,
     it floats like a two-ton cannonball.

     Wait just a minute, sumpin' wrong here,
     this thing ain't fallin', goin' high in the air,
     faster'n'faster, the higher we go,
     how we gonna get down, man I don't know.

     Well we circled the Earth in three hours flat,
     yes I'm in orbit, no doubt about that,
     here I sit, just circlin' in space,
     what's that?  Don't ask me, I don't know who won the race.

Charlie Ryan, who milked this theme for every cent it was worth, one-upped 
Bond once again, as demonstrated by the next selection.  For whatever
reason, 4 Star decided not to release this great version, and it first saw
the light of day on a Sundazed/Hollowbody CD in 1990, as well as Charlie's
new Lincoln label.

HOT ROD ROCKET by Charlie Ryan
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
4 Star (unissued), 1960

Just when you thought it was safe to drink the mountain dew!  Charlie 
tried to build a career with his endless variations of this theme.  
It's the same old story told again, only this time the kid is an 
astronaut, racing the Ruskies.  Here it is, as written by Charlie & 
W.S. Stevenson:

     You heard of the Russians 'n' their man in space,
     they say we're behind in this rocket race.
     Well up in Washington they started thinkin',
     they needed the cat with the Hot Rod Lincoln.

     'Cause he was half of the Hot Rod Race,
     the Hot Rod Lincoln, 'n' the Burlington Chase.
     "Pass the Russians" was their battle cry,
     or they'll rule the world as well as the sky.

     Now the kid that was drivin' that hopped up hack,
     turned twenty-one just a while back.
     He got a letter from his Uncle Sam,
     he hopped in his rod & said "Here I Am."

     Down at Canavaral not long after that,
     who should I see but the hot rod cat.
     Boarded the missile with a smile on his face,
     I knew right then there was gonna be a race.

     When the hatch was shut on his channeled rod,
     I heard him sing out to a gathered crowd,
     "don't stand to close when I throttle her back,
     man this rod is mean, like there ain't no slack."

     When the count-down came, later that day,
     blasted off, he was up-and-away.
     Screamed off the pad with his hot machine,
     wastin' no time pouring on the steam.

     Then all of a sudden, way up ahead,
     he spied a Russian in his rocket red,
     He pushed the button 'n' gave her a blast,
     'n' went into orbit, and I do mean fast.

     Passed old Jupiter, headed for Mars,
     clippin' them off up there in the stars,
     Commin' up fast, away out in space,
     like, man, they was havin' a rocket race.

     The Kid never frowned on an honest race,
     as long as it was done in a proper place,
     He gave her a blast, to make her unwind,
     he was gainin' fast, commin' up from behind.

     He was hummin' along at a frantic clip,
     'cause there was no speed limit on this trip.
     The cat in the Lincoln was takin' a ride,
     'n' him 'n' that Russian was side-by-side.

     There wasn't a crowd out there in space,
     him 'n' that Sputnik was havin' a race.
     He figgered that he could get enough force,
     to steer the Russian off'n his course.

     Heading for the sun, where it's good 'n' hot,
     so he blasted off just one more pot.
     Eased over beside him, and crowded him out,
     sure enough the Russian had'a turn 'em about.

     Countries are bettin', and the stakes are high,
     on just who is gonna rule the sky.
     Now this is not the end of this here race,
     'cause that hot rod cat's still out in space.

     We haven't heard lately, but we will soon,
     that hot rod cat's headed for the moon.
     Time stands still when you're out in space,
     but man we're havin' a rocket race.

ROD, HOT ROD by The King Pins
Larse 101, 1966
MGM 13535, 1966

The King Pins were from Albuquerque, NM and included Eddie Butler &
Nev Burns.  This is a corny cover of Charlie Ryan's "Hot Rod Lincoln"

HOPPED-UP MUSTANG by Arlen Sanders
written by Bill Romberger & Arlen Sanders
Faro 616, 1964
Billboard review date: Unknown
Chart position: Did not chart

If Charlie Ryan had been around to hear this, he may have been able
to collect some royalties on it.  Arlen Sanders was a DJ at radio
station KRLA-Los Angeles around the time this record was released.
Basically, its "Hot Rod Race/Lincoln" with some word changes about
a Mustang.  The whole thing is recited over the Astronauts' LP track
"Movin'", without any credit to them.  To add insult to injury, the
label says "Music by the Pacifics."  Throughout the song are sounds
of tires screeching and various other sound effects.

Let me tell ya about my new steed,
built for comfort, just my speed.
Ford Mustang, modified to set the pace,
Man, I could hardly wait to get out'n'race.

It's got a 289 motor, with a special Cobra kit,
there ain't nothin' on the road that can even touch it.
It's got eight carburetors and it uses them all,
with a four-speed stick that just won't stall.

With that transistor iginition and power-pipe exhaust,
this is the machine that'll really get lost.
Everthing built to make it perform,
it may not be hot but it sure is warm.

We took delivery at the factory late one night,
it was purrin' like a kitten and movin' just right.
We pulled up on the freeway like it was goin' down hill,
and started passin' the sleds like they was standin' still.

Then all of a sudden, before I could bat an eye,
a Cadillac sedan passed me by.
Somebody said, like, "that's the wheels for me,"
but by then the tail lights was all I could see.

Well, these cats ribbed me for bein' behind,
so I started to make that Mustang unwind.
Pushed the foot-feed clear to the floor,
said "that's all there is, there ain't no more."

Smoke was rollin' outta the back,
when I started to gain on that Cadillac.
I was sure I could catch him 'n' I hoped I could pass,
but by then I knew I'd be short on gas.

We went around a curve and passed a truck,
I pulled out my rabitt's foot, just for luck.
The fenders just missed the guardrail post,
the guy in the back was white as a ghost.

I glanced over at the chick on the other side,
her face was blue 'n' I thought she'd died.
But I wasn't worried, 'cause what the heck,
by now me 'n' that Caddy was neck-and-neck.

I guess they'd thought I'd lost my sense,
the telephone poles looked like a picket fence.
They said "slow down, I see spots,
the lines on the road just look like dots."

Went around a corner with the tires on the side,
you could feel the tension, man, what a ride.
I said "hold on, I got a license to fly,"
and that Cadillac faded back and let me by.

Then I looked in the mirror 'n' saw somethin' comin',
and I thought it was a plane by the way it was hummin.
I'd been caught by a helicopter 'n' the CHP,
that was it, man, the end of me.

Well, they busted me and threw me in the can,
so there was nothin' I could do but call the old man.
He said "wail in jail, 'cause I won't bail."
Dang me, he told me not to hop up that Mustang!

HOT ROD RACE #2 by Jim & Jesse
Epic 26314, 1967

I know this one's out there, most probably issued on an EP or LP.
Jim & Jesse McReynolds were a Bluegrass duo who had some hits
during the '60s and '70s.  There may have also been a cover of
"Hot Rod Race" (vs "Hot Rod Race #2"), but I've yet to document it.
There's also a reference to "Hot Rod Race" on a compilation CD
of Jim & Jesse, but songwriter's credit goes to Hays, so I believe
this is also #2 (Jackie Hays/Hayes being cowriter of "Hot Rod Race
#2, see above).

HOT ROD HARRY by Johnny Bond
written by Martin Christian
Blue Sky 104, 1974
Billboard review date: Unknown
Chart position: Did not chart

But it seems like the grudge race was finally won by Johnny Bond.
In 1974, a full three years after his last charted record, he went 
into the studio in Nashville and cut one last version of the "Hot
Rod Race/Lincoln" opus.  This was also released on a Lamb & Lion LP.
It's reminiscent of the Dorse Lewis song, putting together a hot rod    
from parts of different cars.

    Everybody make way for Hot Rod Harry,
    of brains and cash I ain't got narry.
    Gotta cravin' love for blazin' speed,
    a whizzin' Lizzie, that's all I need.
 
    Now who needs dough, that's what I say,
    want somethin' bad enough, there's a will'n'a way.
    Da big dump heap just south of town,
    a lotta ol' cars just layin' around.

    Snuck out late one Wednesday night,
    so dark even ghosts were all outta sight,
    found four old wheels and a frame t'boot,
    won't look like much, but who gives a hoot.

    Got a motor block from an old dump truck,
    just my speed and just my luck,
    took it all home plus a dozen tires
    got my hammer 'n' nails 'n' some bailin' wire.

    Heard tell about a man of another day,
    built a wonderful, wonderful one horse shay.
    I'll do me the same, just give me the tools,
    my mama didn't raise no idiots or fools.

    Lotta hard work 'n' she's ready to roll,
    I took to that thing like a weevil to a boll.
    A friend of mine towed it t'the top of a hill,
    a lotta smooth road 'n' it's all downhill.

    I released the brake 'n' was under way,
    sailing was smooth if I do so say.
    At fifty per, got ta sizin' her up,
    if I left sumpin' out, I'm a suck-eyed pup.

    Sixty MPH, just look at them tires,
    balanced so smooth 'n' the clutch's on fire,
    our instrument's workin', cool as the snow,
    this baby's a peach, beats walkin' you know.

    I put her together like Edsels and Fords,
    got me some old-timed running boards.
    Eighty, then ninety, sailing along,
    got fair piece from home, ain't nothin' goin' wrong.

    Hit a hundert'n'ten at the foot of the grade,
    as the builder of hot rods I've got it made,
    a foot on the brake, I slowed her way down,
    swung to a stop and turned 'er around.

    Pulled up in the station and up to the pump,
    hollered to the man, "Hey, man, fill 'er up."
    He grabbed the hose, started t'lookin' around,
    scratchin' his head and snortin' around.

    "I give up," the station man said,
    "where's the gas cap?" (my face turned red).
    I knowed there was something, as my mind went blank,
    I forgot to install a gasoline tank.

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Asleep At The Wheel
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
Epic 08087, 1988
Billboard review date: Unknown
Chart position: #65 C&W

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Jim Varney & Jerry Scoggins
RCA 62706, 1993

This was the flip side of "The Ballad Of Jed Clampett" from the film
version of "The Beverly Hillbillies."  Jim Varney was the lead actor
and is listed as the singer of the song in the film credits.  He's
pretty faithful to the Commander Cody version, with only a few
corrections of grammer along the way.

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Pat Travers
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson
Polydor LP PD-1-6079, 1976

Pat Travers is listed by Joel Whitburn as a Blues-Rock guitarist/vocalist
from Toronto, Canada.  His version again remains fairly true to the
Commander Cody recording, although it has an updated country sound.

HOT ROD RACE by Tennessee Bill & The Tennessee Boys
written by George Wilson
Rock-A-Billy LP 3001, 1994

On this later-day version, the lyrics are altered slightly.  In the
second verse, where Arkie sang "Now along about the middle of the night,"
these boys sing it as "We were rippin' along in the middle of the night."
Bill also keeps the offensive part, but changes the line to "just
drivin' along like white folks might."  The Columbia butt becomes a
clutch, and he leaves off the end of the last line ("just a hopped-up 
Model-A").  Throughout the song, Bill seems to be having a tough time
remembering all the words, but all-in-all he stays fairly true to the
original.

A LEAF FAN'S DREAM by Doug Moore
written by Doug Moore
no label T-50094, c. 1962

Written and performed in the same style as "Hot Rod Race/Lincoln",
this is the story of the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the NHL Stanley Cup.
They won in 1962/1963/1964 & 1967, and I'm guessing this is from the
1962 season.  It was issued as a single-sided 45, with proceeds from
sales going to the Ontario Society for Crippled Children.

HOT ROD LINCOLN by Martina McBride
written by Charlie Ryan & W.S. Stevenson

According to BMI records, this was written by Charlie Ryan and W.S.
Stevenson, so it's the same song.  I have thus far been unable to
document the recording, but suspect it was on an album during the '90s.

HOT ROD JALOPY by Johnny Bond, Charlie Ryan and W.S. Stevenson

The BMI directory shows no performers of this song, but I find it
amazing that Johnny Bond & Charlie Ryan would get together and
actually write a song about hot rods, and even more fascinating
that Bond would share writer's credits with Bill McCall (W.S.
Stevenson) of 4 Star.

Since I began researching "Hot Rod Race"/"Hot Rod Lincoln" there have
been several additions.

*  There is a group known as Hot Rod Lincoln.  Their music is
   described as "retro-'40s swing" and I'm not sure whether or not
   they've ever actually recorded the song.
*  Bill Kirchen, lead guitarist for Commander Cody & His Lost
   Planet Airmen has also recorded it live (Hightone HCD 8085).
*  Hoyt Axton, I believe, sings a song towards the beginning of the
   David Carradine movie "Cloud Dancer," only its not about cars, its
   about airplanes (and women), but it sounds suspiciously like "Hot
   Rod Lincoln."
*  Junior Brown appears to have recorded this song ("Hot Rod Lincoln")
   in the past few years.  I've heard it, and it is good, but I need
   some discographical information.
*  George Thorogood (that Beer-Joint God) also recorded it, another
   that I have heard, but need discographical information on.
*  Has anyone heard this by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band?  It's a
   good version, but I need to know what LP this appeared on.
*  Another version I've missed so far is by the Wrockers.  Does
   anyone have the details?

HOT ROD LINCOLN by All a/k/s The Desecendants (Allroy's Revenge)
Cruz CD 3189500064

I find it absolutely amazing that almost no one has come up with
anything original lately.  Except for the next listings, everything
since Commander Cody's recording has sounded the same, and that
includes this supposedly hardcore/punk version.  My ears are not
attuned to this music, yet their recording sounds so much like the
Commander's that I cannot discern much difference.  Punk my ass!
This isn't even Garage!  That's not to say it isn't good, which it is,
but I'm feeling that the life has gone out of the spirit of the song,
at least as recorded versions go.  Maybe it has come to its end as an
inspiration, I'm not sure.  We had the Hot Rod Race, then Hot Rod Boogie,
followed by Hot Rod Lincoln, and a couple escapades into inner/outer
space, and since then, very little that is new.  How about a cyber-space
Lincoln?  I have two suggestions to anyone who would aspire to
continue this story:

1)  Find a new theme, like Mick Woodward did with "Hot Rod Navy
Style."  How about something like "Hot Rod Alaska" or "Hot Rod
Surfing"?

2)  Update the original to fit into the 21st century.  I can
almost imagine "Hot Rod Honda" or "Hot Rod MR2".

WHITE FORD BRONCO by Bob Rivers
unknown writer
unknown release

This is a parody version of "Hot Rod Lincoln" about the O.J.
Simpson situation, which pretty much dates it, as it would be
topical for only a few months.  Does anyone know the label/number and
year this was released?  Who wrote it?

     The TV said the Juice must have gone plumb locco,
     and there's cop cars chasing a white Ford Bronco.

     Have you heard the story of the low-speed chase,
     and the Swat Teams waitin' at OJ's place?
     That story is true, it's sad to say,
     I was watching the game when they cut away.

     He told the L.A. cops he was gonna give up,
     and the media setup their satellite trucks.
     Had eighteen cameras at city hall,
     then OJ's lawyer began to stall.

     All of a sudden, in the wink of an eye,
     that Bronco was spotted on 405.
     On CNN and the networks three,
     the flashing tailights was all you could see.

     Now the Rockets & Knicks were in game five,
     when OJ started that fateful drive,
     his four-way hazard lights were blinkin',
     and no one knew what the Juice was thinkin'.

     Now the newsmen said he'd lost his sense,
     said insanity'd be his best defense,
     but they knew this show was awfully hot,
     so they jockeyed around for action shots.

     There was phycho-analysts and personal friends,
     beggin' the Juice to turn himself in,
     TV copters high above,
     and cops in the bushes, dressed like shrubs.

     Fans were cheerin' from the side of the road,
     one man yellin' out "go, Juice, go."
     Wavin' signs when Al pulled in,
     ninety-five million people tuned in.

     And so they took a mug shot and threw him in jail,
     Time Magazine thought he looked too pale.
     Networks plannin' a brand new show,
     "Cop Cars Chasing A White Ford Bronco."


CHRISTMAS HOT ROD RACE by The Leadfoot Four
unknown writer
unknown CD release, 1997

I'm still struggling to find and original copy of the CD that this was
released on, but let me tell you that this is the real thing.  It is more
true to the earlier versions, maybe not Arkie Shibley's, but certainly
Charlie Ryan's.  This is what I mean by finding a new theme and putting
it to the same tune.

The Leadfoot Four were Brian McGuire, Chris Bosch, Pat Cavanough and
Matt Levine.  McGuire & Bosch later formed '52 Pickup.

     You've heard the story of the hot rod race,
     where the Fords and the Mercury's were settin' the pace,
     well here's one story you won't believe,
     it happened late one Christmas Eve.

     The kid who was driving that Model-A
     was headed back to Oklahoma for Christmas day,
     when in the rear-view mirror there's a red light blinkin',
     "oh, my gosh, it's the cops" he's thinkin'.

     Well he pushed it to the floor and let the motor unwind,
     but that guy with the light pulled up right behind,
     it was some custom model he had never seen,
     candy apple red and satellite green.

     The kid couldn't hear the engine and he thought he'd queer
     that this sled was powered by eight reindeer.
     In the wink of an eye the old crate was passing,
     that light was the lead deer's nose a'flashin'.

     There was a chubby old gent at the wheel of this sled,
     with a beard'n'a jumpsuit all of red,
     smokin' a pipe and fairly blind
     he passed the kid like he wasn't even tryin'.

     Well now the kid had raced against many cars,
     and he wasn't scared of one looked like it was from Mars.
     He would take anything, whether chop or stock,
     with his racing cam and his fifty-four block.

     Well that Model-A had what it took,
     hit a hundred and ten, just past Holbrook,
     the kid pulled alongside, said "you wanna go?",
     the cat with the beard just said "ho, ho, ho."

     Well they both were givin' it all it's worth,
     the lead was passin' back-and forth,
     'til they hit the mountains of New Mexico,
     the road was covered with ice'n'snow.

     Well that sled kept a-goin' but the kid started slippin'
     he had to slow down to keep from flippin',
     that snow's no good for his racing slicks,
     yeah, the kid was just about out of tricks.

     Well he thought that maybe he'd lost this race,
     when the other guy slowed down the pace,
     he was pullin' on the reins of them eight reindeer,
     shiftin' 'em down into lower gear.

     Well that cat kept'a putting the brakes to that sleigh,
     when he was just a car length away,
     he tossed a box right in the kid's lap,
     it was a brand new set of spinner hubcaps.

     The he dashed off so fast that a rock couldn't follow,
     though the kid was sure that he heard him holler,
     just before he nitro'd into space,
     "Merry Christmas, thanks for the Hot Rod Race".

HOT ROD SLEIGH by Toby Keith
Polygram (864990?), 1993

Anybody heard this one?

HOT ROD SLEIGH by Randy Holmes
unknown writer
unknown release

I found this reference on the internet, supposedly based on
Hot Rod Race #2 by Arkie Shibley.

     My daddy said "Son, you'll never see Christmas Day
     If you don't stop drivin' that Hot Rod Sleigh."

     Every December when a big snow falls
     My radio always gets a call
     Stuck in a snowdrift I hear 'em pout
     The call on me to pull 'em out.

     Hikers bikers skiers too
     They all get stuck
     And can't pull through
     A call or twenty every day
     I pull 'em out with my Hot Rod Sleigh.

     Got a special jet engine
     Ain't got no gears
     No messy problems with reindeer.

     Just a lever that reads
     Quick or quicker
     And it don't use gas
     Just good corn liquor.

     Well one night not too long ago
     The weatherman predicted snow.

     On Christmas Eve
     With skies of blue
     Last time I looked
     It was six foot two.

     Well I pulled down the covers
     To snuggle down tight
     But then I got a call
     Right around midnight.

     Ho Ho HELP!
     I heard him say
     Santa needed me
     And my Hot Rod Sleigh

     Santa told me where he got stuck
     And I knewwith just a little luck
     I'd get to him and save the day
     Just me, Kris Kringle and my Hot Rod Sleigh.

     Well when I got where he was at
     All I could see was his red hat
     Reindeer antlers pokin' through
     And Rudolph's red nose turned to blue.

     Well I went around back
     And got my chains
     Hooked that Hot Rod Sleigh
     Up to Santa's reins.

     Gave a pull on that old sled
     My Hot Rod runners glowin' red.

     All of a sudden she started knockin'
     My turbine engine started a rockin'
     Felt a shake and heard a shout
     Well, wadda ya know, I pulled 'em out.

     Santa said "Boy I gotta run
     I got a little job I gotta get done
     But remember every Christmas Day
     You help'd out Santa with your Hot Rod Sleigh.

     So now I smile when it's December
     I'll tell the story and remember
     When my Daddy said "Son you'll never see Christmas Day
     If you don't stop drivin' that HOT ROD SLEIGH."

Here's another one that may or may not be related.  Has anyone
heard this?

USED CAR BLUES NO.1 by George Beck & His Jamboree Boys
USED CAR BLUES NO.2 by George Beck & His Jamboree Boys
unknown writer
unknown release

I have these on a cassette tape, and suspect they're from 1997 or
1998.  Yet another new theme put to the same tune.  I'll get to
posting the lyrics as soon as I buy some new batteries for my
cassette player.

HOT ROD MERCURY by Dan Walser

This is supposedly on a video, not issued (to my knowledge)
vas an audio release.  But it seems like it could be another
version of our favorite song.  Has anyone seen/heard this?
It appears that Walser is self-promoted, but what do I know?
Probably late-nineties.

HOT ROD RACER by Bernardo Malfitano

Agiain, I don't have any details, but I found this on the Web.
Looks like a Star Wars version, of all things.  I'm not sure if
this was actually recorded, or is just a parady written for the
website.

     My mamma said "Son, I get so scared and afraid
     each time you race in that pod you made.

     (guitar intro)

     Have you heard the story of the Boonta Eve race
     where a kid and a Dug were setting the pace?
     That story is true, I can tell you that,
     cuz I was drivin' that twin-engine jet.

     With Radon-Ulzer engines that I really improved
     and augmented injectors, that thing could move!
     Eight fans in the compressor, and use'd them all,
     but too much tradium fuel and it just might stall.

     With a movable nozzle and dual air spills...
     The triple air scoops make cornering a thrill.
     As the race started, I would've done fine,
     except that Dug messed with my fuel line.

     So I left the grid later than the rest,
     but when it came to speed I was simply the best.
     With engines and the Force both at my will,
     I was passing pods like they were standin' still.

     (guitar bit)

     It wasn't long till I caught up with the Dug,
     He had crashed most opponents and was lookin' smug.
     He was aggressive but I didn't fear him,
     through canyons and caves I slowly closed in.
  
     The other podracers were left far behind
     (except Mars Guo's, which almost crashed into mine).
     But once in the open desert, whopee!
     I set the augmentor to full A.B.

     Well I wound it up to six hundred and ten,
     and was actually winning for a while, but then
     the Dug started getting nasty and all,
     pushing and shoving me towards the canyon wall.

     Up the service ramp, "Oh now I'md Dead"
     with cones and markers bouncing overhead.
     Went up, then down, through the air I sped.
     With a thrust-vectored landing, I (was (again) ahead.

     *** missing a line here ***
     I was almost running out of luck.
     A valve flew off, left engine stalled!
     (For this, I wanted the damn Dug's balls!)

     Smoke was coming from out of the side
     and Sebulba was gaining, while hard I tried
     to compensate the thrust and gas
     I put out the fire and did a fuel bypass.

     My pod met his and again he shoved it,
     but we stuck together (man, the crowd just loved it).
     I upped the thrust, the two podos in a lock,
     but the Dug broke loose and flew into a rock.

     All of a sudden, the crowd was roarin',
     my friends were cheering, Jabba a-snorin'.
     Victory was sweet but Watto didn't taste her,
     because I has won with my new podracer.

     So they freed me, I then left my mom,
     Joined the Jedi and I was gone.
     But I knew I'd be back to free and embrace her
     all because I won in my HOT...POD...RACER!

And if THAT ain't takin' into the 21st Century, I don't
know what will.

MORE:
Listening to the versions of Hot Rod Lincoln by Junior Brown, Asleep
At The Wheel, George Thorogood, Jim Varney & The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band,
I am convinced at this point that all five versions are covers of the
Commander Cody recording.  I haven't yet compared them word-
for-word, but a cursory listen indicates that there is nothing
new.  So what we have is "Hot Rod Race" by George Wilson and
"Hot Rod Lincoln" Charlie Ryan.

But we still don't know the complete story behind "Hot Rod Lincoln," and 
quite possibly never will.  We don't have the slightest hint of who 
George Wilson is, although he is credited with writing the original 
"Hot Rod Race."  What of the unknown film, actress and song from which 
it supposedly originated?  Who is the mysterious "W.S. Stevenson," who 
apparently co-wrote every one of Charlie Ryan's variations?  Well, W.S. 
Stevenson was a psuedonym that Bill McCall used to steal songwriting
credits from his artists at 4 Star Records.  Actually, the word steal may
be a little harsh (but not much), as he generally only got co-writer
credits, along with the actual songwriter.  Perhaps someday we will know 
more.  For now, we are left with these gems which represented the genesis 
of another sub-genre, hot rod music.

And that IS another story.  John Blair & Stephen J. McParland compiled an 
excellent discography titled "Hot Rod Music 1961-1965" which was published
in 1990 (ISBN 1-56075-002-2) by Popular Culture, Ink.  But to my knowledge,
no one has chronicled the previous era, which probably begins with Jimmy
Liggins' "Cadillac Boogie" in 1947 and was really given a jump-start with
the release of "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston with his Delta Cats on Chess
1458 in 1951, recorded by none other than Sam Phillips at the Sun Recording
Studio on 05-Mar-51.  Prior to the Liggins record, there are several car
songs that may or may not have been true hot rod-inspired tunes, including
Robert Johnson's "Terraplane Blues" from 1936 and Connie Jordan and the 
Jordanaires' "Hot Rod Boogie" in 1947, which was an instrumental, and not
related to "Hot Rod Race" and/or "Hot Rod Lincoln" in any way, shape or
form.  Throughout the fifties, there were many hot rod songs released, 
and some day I hope to provide a comprehensive listing of those as well.

HOT ROD RACE/LINCOLN ON CD:

Label Number (when available) Title
  Song Title  Artist/Group

Buffalo Bop BbCD 5505: Hot Rod Gang
  Hot Rod Race  Bob Williams
Capitol 57255: Shut Down
  Hot Rod Race  Ramblin' Jimmy Dolan
Collectables COL-CD 5563: Bop City-Red Hot Early Rock
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Keith Owens
Collector CLCD 2856: Arkie Shibley-Hot Rod Race
  Hot Rod Race     Arkie Shibley
  Hot Rod Race #2  Arkie Shibley
  Hot Rod Race #3  Arkie Shibley
  Hot Rod Race #4  Arkie Shibley
  Hot Rod Race #5  Arkie Shibley
Collector CLCD 2852: Boppin' Tonight - Vol. 2
  Hot Rod Race Navy Style  Mick Woodward
Cruz 3189500064: Allroy's Revenge (Harcore/Punk)
  Hot Rod Lincoln  All
Hightone HCD 8085: Hot Rod Lincoln-Live!
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Bill Kirchen
Hip-O: Under My Wheels
  Hot Rod Race  Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Hollowbody HC 12001: Wild Men Ride Wild Guitars
  Hot Rod Rocket  Charlie Ryan
Hollywood: Hits For The Road
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Charlie Ryan
K-Tel: Corny Country
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Charlie Ryan
Lucky CDLR 811: Rockabilly Gold-Vol 11
  Hot Rod Race  Charlie Ryan
Lucky CDLR 812: Rockabilly Gold-Vol 12
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Charlie Ryan
Oglio 9005820012: Stranger Than Fiction
  Hot Rod Lincoln  The Wrockers
Platinum Disc Corp: Legendary Hot Rod Hits No. 2
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Charlie Ryan
Rhino R2 7041: Rock This Town-Vol 2
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Rhino R2 75688: Hot Rods & Custom Classics - Disc 2
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Johnny Bond
  Hot Rod Race  Ramblin' Jimmie Dolan
Sony Music Special Products CD A33657: 30 Classic Car Tunes
  Hot Rod Race  Arkie Shibley
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Charlie Ryan
  Burlington Chase  Charlie Ryan
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Johnny Bond
Sony: Swing Time
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Asleep At The Wheel
The Right Stuff: Hot Rod Series
  Hot Rod Race  Ramblin' Jimmy Dolan
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Johnny Bond
Time-Life CTD-22: Country U.S.A. - 1951
  Hot Rod Race  Ramblin' Jimmy Dolan
Time-Life CTD-12: Country U.S.A. - 1960
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Charlie Ryan
Time-Life SOD-13: Sound Of The Seventies
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Varese Vintage: The Very Best Of Johnny Bond
  Hot Rod Lincoln  Johnny Bond
  Side Car Cycle  Johnny Bond

I'm fairly sure that all the Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen
albums are currently available on CD.  I will probably research these
in the very near future.

That's about all I know about "Hot Rod Race/Lincoln."  Readers are
encouraged to contact me at 640 Whitney Ranch Drive #325, Henderson,
NV 89014 or via email at legjaw@earthlink.net with any additional
information.

Notes: All chart positions taken from Joel Whitburn's Record Research. All Billboard review dates from Terry Gordon's Billboard Country Review Index.

Charlie Ryan, the original writer and artist who recorded "Hot Rod Lincoln" in 1955. Charlie owns the one and only original hot rod lincoln and continues to play and record at age 86!

Visit the Continental Connector, the official publication of the Pacific Northwest Region of the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club. Photos and text available.

See Charlie and the Car



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