The Lightning Fingers Of Roy Clark album cover
The Lightning Fingers Of Roy Clark

Roy Clark

Capitol Records

Roy Clark spent years as Buck Owens’ partner on the country variety show Hee Haw, telling the corniest jokes imaginable and singing sappy love ballads. But long before that, he was one of the hottest guitarists in country music, and this 1963 album of instrumentals lives up to its title. On the opening “Twelfth Street Rag,” he plays unbelievably fast, and on “Texas Twist,” he hurls some almost Dick Dale-esque pyrotechnics at the listener. Several of these tracks, which are often set to a jumping backbeat, blur the lines between country, rock ’n’ roll, and honking R&B — there’s a fairly scorching saxophone solo on “Weepin’ Willow Twist,” for example, and they tear Glenn Miller’s swing-era jazz anthem “In The Mood” into shreds and set the pieces on fire. “Dented Fender” and “Chicken Wire” are savage displays of fretboard ferocity, too. Roy Clark was a beast, and this album will please any fan of serious guitar pickin’. 

Phil Freeman

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