Link Wray

Golden Classics

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Link Wray is said to have invented the power chord and to have traced the template for grunge guitar way back in the mid-1950s, but what he really is, more than anything, is the precedent for players like Jimi Hendrix, a guitarist who wanted to wring every last blast and rattle out of his amp by any means possible. Through his recording career, producers continually operated on the principle that if you could only dress him up and tone him down, Wray would break through to the masses, but like that junkyard dog continually barking at the end of his chain, Wray kept things in the bone-rattling red zone, turning out track after track of raw, primitive energy. It probably doesn't matter where you start with this one-of-a-kind guitarist, but this brief collection gets it done quickly and affordably. Highlights include the to-the-floor rush of "Right Turn," the slow, drunken walk of "Rendezvous," the garage punk of "Radar," and the riff that started it all, "Rumble" (here disguised as "Ramble"). Surf, metal, grunge, and hard rock guitarists the world over owe their Bentleys to this man.

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