Larry Wallis

Death in the Guitarafternoon

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Anyone with an eye for the unsung guitar heroes of the '70s and '80s will know the name Larry Wallis. He led the Pink Fairies through their final studio album and sundry subsequent re-formations; he was a founding member of Motörhead in the days when they really were as dangerous as their reputation insisted; he gifted Stiff Records with the punk-era treasure "Police Car," and appeared on the first, legendary Live Stiffs tour; he has drifted in and out of sundry Mick Farren and the Deviants projects; he even co-produced the Adverts' 1977 Top 20 hit "Gary Gilmore's Eyes." So how come he's only now releasing a solo album? Actually, this isn't his debut; that was recorded in 1977 for Stiff and has languished unreleased ever since. But, eye-catchingly draped in an info packaged Savage Pencil sleeve, Death in the Guitarafternoon is a dramatic offering from the man once described (as the liner notes remind us) as "Hank Marvin on acid" -- assuming Hank sang with a throaty roar and played guitar like a switchblade. Eleven tracks are dominated, of course, by the Wallis guitar, an electrifying, fluid beast that hangs perpetually on the brink of garageland grandiosity, but is capable of dynamic expression and emotion. The solo in the opening "Are We Having Fun Yet?" the slow-burning spaghetti-surf of "El Diablo's Hangin' Ten" and the adrenalin-pounding "Where the Freaks Hang Out" are as good as any workouts you're going to hear, while a reprise of "Police Car" might seem a little slower, and a lot more polished, than its 1977 forebear, but the extended intro and a near-eight-minute marathon are worth the price of admission on their own. The song was always a classic. Now it's an anthem.

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