Various Artists

Dancehall Stringbusters Vol. 2: Crunchy Guitar Instros from the '60s

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Like the first volume of this series, this assembles 20 tough guitar instrumentals from the first half of the 1960s, throwing in a few recognizable names and unreleased cuts among numbers that are largely taken from some pretty dang obscure singles. And as with the first volume, the frenetic, oft-creative playing is usually more impressive than the songs, which are often fairly typical rock & roll melodies. Nonetheless, the mixture of nuances is commendable, and there are some hot performances worthy of special citation. Roy Buchanan, easily the most noted artist on the disc, plays pretty smoking blues-rock guitar with an ahead-of-its-time searing tone on both sides of his rare shades-of-Link Wray 1961 single "Mule Train Stomp"/"Pretty Please"; he also does well as the guitarist on Bob Moore & the Temps' 1963 45 "Braggin'"/"Trophy Run." Joe Maphis and Phil Baugh are accomplished lightning-fast country pickers willing to draw from rock & roll and jazz in both their styles and arrangements. Serious guitar fans will have heard of all those guys, but not Bobby Wayne, who plays excellent twangy riffs on three tracks from a rare 1964 LP. The influence of R&B, surf, rockabilly, and country boogie crisscrosses throughout most of the material, genres being heedlessly blended and traversed as instrumental rock entered its last few years as a popular style. Fans of a slightly later era of rock will be interested to hear the two-part "Mushroom Machine" 1964 single by Bobby Arlin, who went on to play guitar with the Leaves.

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