Six Cult Strat Albums

Surfer’s Choice
Dick Dale and His Del-Tones

The 18-track CD reissue of this seminal surf-rock album is the way to go, as it contains the ripping live 1962 performances of the original album along with vintage studio recordings of instrumental classics, including the definitive version of “Miserlou.” Even 51 years later, Dale’s Strat still sounds ferocious.

Left My Blues in San Francisco
Buddy Guy

Although Guy recorded his first single for Cobra/Artistic in 1958, participated in numerous Chess sessions and made albums as a member of Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band, it took him nearly a decade to eventually release this, his first solo album. Finally, with nothing holding him back, he lets loose like a man possessed.

Tommy Bolin

Bolin played funky roots rock with the James Gang, jazz-rock fusion with Billy Cobham’s Spectrum and vintage heavy metal with Deep Purple—all of which and more are represented here. Bolin’s tasteful chops and thick tone, particularly on his stellar slide playing, make his death at age 25, a year after this album’s release, all the more tragic.

Calling Card
Rory Gallagher

There were plenty of blues rockers before and after Rory Gallagher recorded this album in 1976, but few were as adept as Gallagher at playing both authentic traditional blues and aggressive hard rock. For the uninitiated, this album offers a concise introduction to Gallagher’s best from a peak period.

Shoot Out the Lights
Richard and Linda Thompson

Critics often praise Richard Thompson’s songwriting on this album, but for guitar fans the greatest appeal lies in his razor-sharp Strat rhythm tones and lyrical solos. Thompson should have had the same success story as Dire Straits, but maybe his music and playing are just too smart for mass consumption.

Tales from the Bulge
Michael Landau

As one of the most in-demand session guitarists in Los Angeles since the Eighties, Landau has played on albums by numerous A-list artists, including Miles Davis, Glenn Frey, Sammy Hagar, Michael Jackson, Joni Mitchell, Rod Stewart and many others. His first solo album is a jazz-fusion masterpiece, filled with tantalizing tones and torrid tunes.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.