Produced by Bill Justis and based in Nashville, Ronny and The Daytonas were fronted by John "Buck" Wilkin (aka Ronnie) and Buzz Cason. Although based very far from California, the group released several songs which can be compared to the best sides of the Beach Boys or Jan and Dean. Benefiting from the excellent songriting skills of Wilkin, they got a national hit in 1964 with G.T.O., still a hot rod classic. Their subsequent singles sold quite well too and they became so popular that several fake "Ronny and the Daytonas" were touring in the Southwest.
Although their most successful period was 1964/65, when they were signed to the local Mala/Amy label (also in charge of The Box Tops), they kept on recording for RCA until 1968. Their line-up was not very stable and, in 1967, some of The Daytonas became The Hombres.
In 1969, when the group finally broke up, John Buck Wilkin formed the short-lived American Eagles. He would also release two interesting solo albums and do a lot of session work with rock and country acts. Buzz Cason became a well-known producer and worked with The Hangmen, Us Four, White Duck and Jay Bentley.
After years of suffering from numerous bootleg compilations direct from noisy 45s of dubious legality and dodgy fidelity, Sundazed puts together simply the best collection now available on everybody's favorite Nashville hot-rod group. John Buck 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 'em and cut 'em good. 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's not merely imitative, something that's actually going somewhere, and you can hear it going right on this nicely sequenced disc. This 20-song compilation is split almost evenly between the styles of their biggest hits, with the first 11 tracks echoing the rocking, gas'n'go call to arms of "G.T.O." while the balance features the lush harmonies and BB 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. These vintage recordings should quite easily find an audience beyond surf, hot rod, and Beach Boys music fans. Good stuff, sounding great and well-packaged.