Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Davie Allan & The Arrows—
Devil's Angels


Released 1967 on Tower
The Seth Man, June 2000ce
This is the original motion picture soundtrack to American International Pictures’ follow-up to their successful biker flick, “The Wild Angels.” Not missing a beat, they immediately went into production with a follow-up biker drama, “Devil’s Angels” and once more commissioned Davie Allan & The Arrows to supply the soundtrack. This was an obvious choice as their work for “The Wild Angels” yielded the hit “Blues’ Theme” single, which was STILL on regional charts all across America when “Devil’s Angels” was released months later. It was probably not lost on producer Mike Curb that Allan’s penchant for using his Mosrite Fuzzrite on almost everything gave his Fender Jazzmaster a sound not unlike the revving of a phalanx of motorcycles, so Allan proceeded to give it ‘the treatment’ in a big way throughout this album’s mere 20 minute length.

Although one track was credited to Jerry & The Portraits, it was in reality a base track for the main theme cut by The Arrows with a last minute vocal overdub, which is why the whole LP roars in the truly reckless manner it does. The Arrows were never a cohesive unit, and on “Devil’s Angels” the original lineup was gone, with Allan backed by L.A. Wrecking Crew stalwarts Hal Blaine on drums and bassist Carol Kaye. What they produced was probably the best biker soundtrack ever, catching Davie Allan mid-flight in some of the most supremely tough and raw instrumental outings of its time, or any time for that matter. “The Devil’s Rumble” is a snarl of mean fuzz guitars as they yank through a barbed-wire fence of ominous tom-toms akin in feel to Link Wray’s “Rumble” while “Make Believe Love” is a guitar-less, bongo-dominated danger piece that was constantly used throughout the film. The brief and saccharine “Funky” quickly passes into “Cody’s Theme,” one of the few fuzz-less moments on the album, but a soaring, heroic twang-out nonetheless. A single, “Devil’s Angels” / “Cody’s Theme” was culled from the album, but here “Cody’s Theme” was a completely different take (In fact, three different fuzzed out guitar leads were overdubbed into a riotous monster that is the complete antithesis of the album’s clean, Western-style version.) Side two kicks off with another version of “Cody’s Theme,” retitled as “Hell Rider,” a Mike Curb-sung overdub with lyrics written just minutes prior to the recording session. “Hole In the Wall” is Allan twanging with over-recorded stomping drums, showing his strength was no mere fuzzbox gimcrack, but the way he carries melodies so effortlessly is downright uncanny at times. “Devil’s Carnival” is, as you’d guess, heavy on the carousel celeste claves (and therefore corny as hell) until Allan breaks down the door with a fuzzed out and kinetic riff run that is so crazed yet finessed at the same time, it’s too cool for words. I so love that cornball organ just for the way it sets itself up only to be demolished by the barnstorming qualities of that riff. “Ghost Story” is a bizarre, psych-garage free form freak out, resplendent with screeching fuzz’n’feedback guitar over skittering piano and random drums which cuts off dramatically. We’re then brought full circle into the dizzying epic that is the album’s closer, the instrumental title track, “Devil’s Angels.” The powerhouse rhythm section runs professionally tight behind Allan’s manifold-tracked leads that fuse into a single fuzztone melody of fire as little castanets pilot fish all around said mighty riff as it bursts into flames, hits the wall and fucks off across the sky. They say you can almost see trails of it to this day, on a clear night, if you look hard enough...Davie Allan & The Arrows material would surface on over ten other soundtracks -- all cut between 1967 and 1968 -- and they managed to release three albums under their own name, but never again would an entire soundtrack exclusively feature the manic and pioneering fuzz guitar of Davie Allan, a true guitar genius.