40. OPUS 1 - Back Seat '38 Dodge

OPUS 1 - 'Back Seat '38 Dodge'/'In My Mind' (Mustang 3017) May 1966

The cryptically named Opus 1 were a short lived, one single shot group outta Long Beach. Their star shone briefly over Los Angeles and their management even took out a full page advert announcing the release of 'Back Seat '38 Dodge' in a May 1966 edition of KRLA Beat.
This advert describes the new 45 on Mustang as "Bewitching" and I can see why. It's a swirling surf and garage punk mix with maximum echo in the production.

The flip 'In My Mind' is just as good but this psychedelic medication is not as immediate. In the end though it didn't matter because the single failed to sell in large quantities and today remains a sought after disc by 60s garage archivists.

OPUS 1 - Back Seat '38 Dodge


  1. I love how Greg Shaw described "Back Seat '38 Dodge" as "the arrival of the era of psychedelic punk" in his liners to Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 2.

    Here's a link to the Opus 1 feature on garagehangover.com, which delves into the song's inspiration by the similarly titled Ed Keinholz sculpture then causing a sensation in the L.A. arts community. Not sure if it was known prior to that excellent feature, but Opus 1's drummer Chris Christensen was in the band Time of Your Life shortly after Opus disintegrated. I guess he'd already exited Time of Your Life before the group recorded its only single, "Ode to a Bad Dream"... but Christensen apparently edited that song for release.

    I'm sure you'll be featuring "Ode to a Bad Dream" in your L.A. top 50, Colin. Better not jump the gun, so to speak. Thanks for another excellent post!

  2. Oh yeah--I was wondering if anyone's ever seen a stock copy of "Back Seat '38 Dodge." I've only ever seen the promo shown here.

  3. I can't put Time Of Your Life 45 in my Selected 50 cos I'm only using records I've got in my collection!!

  4. I have a red label copy that I traded a white label promo for to Vox Continental organist Tom Lawson from the 60s Long Beach group "The Pages" just a few years ago. I always wanted one that had actually been in circulation.

    John "Chris" Christensen


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