21 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Link Wray was, along with his brothers Vernon and Doug, a perhaps unwitting progenitor of the independent recording industry. Wray’s Epic releases, which included such convincingly menacing numbers as “Rawhide” and “Rumble” inspired an entire generation of distortion happy guitarists, but the sides that Wray and his brothers recorded in their home studio for independent imprints like Swan, Kay and Cameo provide a sort of alternate history of the Wray’s career. Norton’s exhaustive four-volume series Missing Links compiles these smaller releases. The first volume, Hillbilly Wolf includes sides that Wray and his brothers recorded before “Rumble” hit the charts, as well as a brace of early ‘60s sides that alternate between Wray’s trademark instrumental badinage and deranged takes on R&B and C&W standards. Wray completists will want this set for its inclusion of four previously unreleased recordings, including a breathless take on “Lawdy Mis Clawdy” that nearly bests Little Richard.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Link Wray was, along with his brothers Vernon and Doug, a perhaps unwitting progenitor of the independent recording industry. Wray’s Epic releases, which included such convincingly menacing numbers as “Rawhide” and “Rumble” inspired an entire generation of distortion happy guitarists, but the sides that Wray and his brothers recorded in their home studio for independent imprints like Swan, Kay and Cameo provide a sort of alternate history of the Wray’s career. Norton’s exhaustive four-volume series Missing Links compiles these smaller releases. The first volume, Hillbilly Wolf includes sides that Wray and his brothers recorded before “Rumble” hit the charts, as well as a brace of early ‘60s sides that alternate between Wray’s trademark instrumental badinage and deranged takes on R&B and C&W standards. Wray completists will want this set for its inclusion of four previously unreleased recordings, including a breathless take on “Lawdy Mis Clawdy” that nearly bests Little Richard.

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