The spectacular first volume of Norton Records' exemplary four-volume MISSING LINKS set of Link Wray rarities, 1996's HILLBILLY WOLF performs an invaluable service. Although Link Wray had a national hit in 1958 with the classic "Rumble," with his backing band the Wraymen, Wray had been recording for years prior to that breakthrough. The aptly-titled HILLBILLY WOLF gathers the best of these exceedingly rare singles and unreleased tracks. As the name indicates, Wray was a rockabilly cat at the start. He and his band the Palomino Ranch Gang--yes, really--came from the pure country end of rockabilly, but Wray's guitar style, though not as fully developed as it would become on later hits, already shows signs of the Chicago blues-style distortion and controlled feedback he helped popularize in a straight rock & roll context. While this compilation is not the best starting point for novices--this is mostly pure instrumental rockabilly, not at all like the things Wray later became known for--both Wray fans and rockabilly fetishists will be fascinated.