Friday, October 21, 2005

Rumble Alley

Thanks for all the kind words and e-mails. Y'all are swell.

Duane Eddy and Dick Dale seem to get the most attention,these days, of the myriad of instrumental geetar slingers of the 50's and 60's. And fair enough, but I'd add Link Wray to that list...make it a trinity. While Eddy is the sound of the deserts echoing off sand and canyons, and Dale takes on the pulse and flow of the vastest of oceans, Wray's is equally the space between the white lines of a southern backroad and the graffiti-strewn walls of a big city alley, all revved up speed and menace. Part of the genius of the Link Wray sound has to be credited to his brother, "Ray Vernon", whose studio wizardry on the cheap, and fascination with compression, helped forge the signature Link Wray tone, claustrophobic and dangerous, not safe for children. Hot rod races and gang wars. Straight outta D.C..

Link looked the part, too, rockin' the leather jacket like an early Ramone, he was punk 10 years before the Sonics, and certainly less contrived than the Velvet Underground. With Hasil Adkins, Link is owed a debt of gratitude from grease and trash rock labels like Norton (which has released a few Wray recordings), In the Red, and Sympathy for the Record Industry.

Since most are at least passingly familiar with his bigger "hits" ("Rumble" and "Rawhide" in particular), I thought I'd pull off a couple of tracks from the Ace Records collection, "Law of the Jungle" , which contains Wray's Swan Records sides and unreleased tracks. Of particular note is the rare vocal on "Soul Train" (not the one you think it is).

Link Wray: Soul Train (mp3)

Link Wray: Return of the Birdland (mp3)

Support your local record shop


countrygrrl said...

fantabulous as always..even took my eye of CSI which is on the TV in the right of the room. I always think this must be like knittting a shetland jumper or making a know watching tv and clicking the needles....anyway ta for a couple of swell tracks.

guapo said...

soul train is just too wild! great guitar too! (tho` I guess it should be - it is Link Wray after all!)

Anonymous said...

There's a record store out in Alexandria run by this huge Link Wray fan who told me a lot of info about the guy.

- supposedly he now lives in Denmark

- he will never play around D.C. anymore because of a falling out with his brother, I think ahving to do with royalties for the music.