Guitar Player Magazine Presents Legends of Guitar -- Rock: The '50s | EW.com

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Guitar Player Magazine Presents Legends of Guitar -- Rock: The '50sKicking off with volumes devoted to blues, rock, jazz, and country, the Legends of the Guitar series showcases an assortment of six...Guitar Player Magazine Presents Legends of Guitar -- Rock: The '50sRock, ReissuesKicking off with volumes devoted to blues, rock, jazz, and country, the Legends of the Guitar series showcases an assortment of six...1990-11-09
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Guitar Player Magazine Presents Legends of Guitar -- Rock: The '50s

Genre: Rock, Reissues; Lead Performer: Various Artists

Kicking off with volumes devoted to blues, rock, jazz, and country, the Legends of the Guitar series showcases an assortment of six-string masters. As much a demonstration of the instrument’s versatility as its players’ endless invention, this ambitious project draws together both signature songs and less familiar recordings. Confronting an era in which guitar was just coming into its own, the series’ first volume, Rock: The ’50s, profiles the obvious innovators (Bo Diddley, Duane Eddy, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly) without delivering much flashy fretwork. Striking examples of the decade’s instrumental achievements are rare; their scarcity here makes the album’s focus hard to discern. C

Attempting to cover everything from twangy surf instrumentals to the peerless Jimi Hendrix, Rock: The ’60s barely scratches the surface. Many of the decade’s biggest stars (Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page, for instance) aren’t included; Eric Clapton’s only appearance is a two-minute Yardbirds track that hardly explains his cultural deification. B-

The track selections on Electric Blues are debatable, but the lineup — featuring Muddy Waters, early B.B. King, Elmore James, and T-Bone Walker — is almost perfect, and there’s enough spectacular soloing to satisfy any electric guitar fan. B+