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At the Drags
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  • It's hard to overestimate the talent and influence of Dick Dale. With the possible exception of Les Paul, no modern guitar player has done so much behind the scenes to create the sound and gear of contemporary electric guitar, from helping to develop the Showman amp and outboard reverb gear to his playing itself, which incorporated Middle Eastern scales over Chuck Berry-styled blues progressions in the late '50s and early '60s when such things were unheard of on electric guitar -- and he did all this by playing guitar left-handed, upside down, and backwards, and at massive volume. This set collects Dale's hot rod-themed singles for Capitol Records, all released originally in 1964 and 1965. Not as striking as Dale's surf singles from the same period, although he utilizes many of the same guitar tones and patterns, these tracks have more historical and archival value than anything else, and his fans should definitely seek this set out, although there's nothing here as powerful as Dale's surf hits "Miserlou" (from 1962) and "Let's Go Trippin'" (from 1965), the tracks that, more than any others, established his exotic rumbling, echoing, and slicing guitar style. ~ Steve Leggett
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