If the name is unfamiliar, think garage rockers The Fuzztones and Rudi Protrudi; add in Link Wray (one of the great guitarists) and Link Protrudi and the Jaymen were created. They released “the first guitar-oriented striptease/burlesque LP” entitled Slow Grind and consequently became the house band for the annual striptease convention… and “an exotic mix of psychedelia and belly dance music.” If you doubt it, listen to ‘Beyond the Veil’ or ‘Sultan’s Desire’ to envisage belly dancers accompanied by some clever guitar phrasing.
Now we have a new compilation of two vinyl albums (Driving Home & Missing Link): The Best of Link Protrudi and The Jaymen, provides twenty-six tracks covering some classy Wray and some tasty originals like ‘Chicken Choke’, ‘Avalanche’, ‘Backfire’ and ‘Psyclone’ to maintain the atmosphere but keep the garage edge as well as the fun. Then there are a few covers that take on a new life…try ‘Bodacious’ or ‘Ace of Spades’ (no, not that one) or even ‘Summertime’ (yes, that one) where the saccharine of the original is absolved in some marvellously fuzzed guitar. ‘Money’ takes the Fab Four version of the Gordy Berry song and puts a large helping of fun into it…the audience agrees. ’Serpentine’ gets my vote as the guitar wah’d and fuzzed tones snake around the melody.
Most tracks are under three minutes; every track is different and totally faithful to the sound and style it’s based on. You may not want to listen to it all in one sitting but sprinkle these liberally through a playlist and they are just great.
If Link Wray or Link Protrudi are unknown to you, think of The Shadows with added surf and lubrication…better yet, buy this nostalgic yet modern view of guitar history, then buy some Link Wray too.