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G.T.O. - Best of the Mala Recordings

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Album Review

After years of suffering from various bootleg compilations direct from noisy 45s of dubious legality and awful fidelity, Sundazed puts together simply the best collection available on everybody's favorite Nashville hot rod group. John Bucky Wilkins — aka Ronny Dayton — was the nominal group's focus as songwriter, singer, and lead guitarist, doing most of his hot pickin' on a nylon-string classical model. As a songwriter, his principal inspirations were Brian Wilson and Chuck Berry. His producer was Sun Records alumni Bill Justis ("Raunchy"), a supposed rock hater, who nonetheless knew how to cut a hit. As a result, the handful of singles and two albums from Ronny & the Daytonas' Mala Records period (1964 to 1966) stand as not only some fine Beach Boys-influenced music, but some great rock & roll that actually goes somewhere, and isn't merely imitative. This 20-song comp is split almost evenly between the styles of their two biggest hits, with the first 11 tracks echoing the rocking, gas'n'go call to arms of "G.T.O."; the balance features the lush harmonies and Beach Boys ballad style of "Sandy." The big news here is that for the first time ever, first-generation master tapes have been used for everything — and even an original, multi-layered, mono on mono (i.e., noisy and hissy) recording like "Sandy" sounds better than it ever has. The secret delight on here is "If I Had My Way," probably their musical high point as a band. And with a few tracks and some extra liners lopped off, it is also available on vinyl.

Customer Reviews

My Little GTO!!! One hot demon!!!

This song takes me back to 1964, when I bought my GTO. Dark metallic green!! A head-turner, for sure. The first one in my town. 4-speed, 389 cubic inch engine, leaving everything else eatin dust!! What a ride!! No other GTO had the beauty and class of the '64. Wish I could drive it just ONE MORE TIME!!! Ah, those were the days. A GTO and no Obama. Couldn't get any better than that.

This is good

This is the song I heard off of RV i fell in love

A good time on a 45!

This song makes me want to take a road trip on Highway 1 in the Summer. Windows down. This is a good time captured on a 45.


Formed: 1963

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Nashville's greatest contribution to the hot rod and surfing craze of the early '60s came in the form of Ronny & the Daytonas. Centered around singer-guitarist-songwriter John "Bucky" Wilkin (son of country tunesmith Marijohn Wilkin, best known for composing "Long Black Veil" and "One Day at a Time"), their big moment in the sun came with their debut disc, the Wilkin-penned "G.T.O." After writing the song in physics class as a senior in high school, Wilkin's mom pulled a few strings, landed him a...
Full Bio
G.T.O. - Best of the Mala Recordings, Ronny & The Daytonas
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Customer Ratings