The Complete Recordings By Ronny And The Daytonas

November 23, 2015

Hung Up In Your Eyes  B. Hyland

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and surf music aficionados everywhere, it’s time to climb into the time machine and take a trip back to the 1960’s.

When surf music comes to mind, the names Beach Boys and Jan & Dean leap to the forefront. There were other groups producing the sounds of summer including Dick Dale, The Fantastic Baggys, The Rip Chords and the subject of this review, Ronny And The Daytonas.

During their five year existence, Ronny And The Daytonas issued two albums, over a dozen singles and recorded for three labels. Their entire output, plus some unreleased material, and a solo single by John “Ronny” Wilkin have been combined onto the newly released The Complete Recordings. This is one of the few times that complete actually means complete.

The three periods of their career have distinct sounds. The 1964 album, “G.T.O” with the title hit song was a basic surf and turf album. The music is not the caliber of the Beach Boys or Jan & Dean. Their sound is pleasant enough but they basically used two singers on the harmonies and were not adept enough in the studio to create intricate harmonies. Songs such as “Hot Rod Baby,” “California Bound,” “Bucket T,” and their big hit are pleasant pieces of grade B fluff.

Their 1966 album Sandy was unique for a surf album. The band was located in Nashville and they added a number of subtle country elements to their sound. “Nanci,” “So In Love,” “Somebody To Love Me,” “Be Good To Your Baby,” and “When The Stars Shine Bright” may not have received much commercial attention at the time but in retrospect they were a unique approach to a classic sound.

Their time with the RCA label resulted in a number of single releases that found them moving in more of a straight pop direction. “Diane Diane,” “All American Girl,” Winter Weather,” and “The Girls And The Boys” have a much more sophisticated approach, which holds up well.

As with just about all of the Real Gone reissues, the sound has been scrubbed as clean as possible. The accompanying booklet has an extensive essay by “Ronny Wilkins”, which gives a personal history of the band.

The Complete Recordings is a nice trip back in time with a band that many times slips under the radar. It should please any fan of the 1960’s surf music craze.


G.T.O. by Ronny & The Daytonas

July 17, 2011

Ronny & The Daytonas were initially a studio group from Nashville that specialized in hot rod songs that were so popular in the mid-1960s.

Lead singer John Wilkin (Ronny) was backed by such artists as Bobby Russell, Chips Momen, and Johny MacRae. They had a huge during late 1964. “G.T.O.” was released August 1, 1964 and reached number four on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

Wilkin then had the problem of putting a touring group together. Johnny Hunter, Gary McEwen, and B.B. Cunningham all joined him on the road even though they were not involved in the astudio. Don’t feel bad for them as they all left the band togather, and as The Hombres issued one of the great singles of the late 1960s, “Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out).”

Their original vinyl album was on my wish list for years. I remember having it in my hand in my local record store as a teenager but deciding to purchacr a Gerry & The Pacemakers album instead. It took me almost 35 years to find another copy. This was in the pre-internet days.

“G.T.O.” will always ahave a prized position in my record collection.