July 02, 1979 12:00 PM

Link Wray

This LP offers an answer, at the very least, to the increasingly relevant musical question: Can someone 50 years old still rock and roll? Wray’s answer is yes, though his rocking and rolling is limited to the kind he did in the late ’50s. His Rumble and Rawhide were landmarks in the history of electric rock guitar, instrumental hits that popularized a number of effects—intentional fuzzing, feedback and eardrum-threatening volume—that have been used and misused by musicians ever since. Wray has tried a number of comebacks, with limited success. Now he’s singing more than in the past (he lost a lung to TB after serving in the Korean war, which limited his vocalizing for years), but his emphasis is still on his guitar—stark, loud chords, repeated many times. It’s not Clapton or Richards, but it did help make them possible.

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