Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Link Wray and The Ray Men : Early Recordings 2006

Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray, Jr. (May 2, 1929 – November 5, 2005) was an American rock and roll guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist who became popular in the late 1950s.

Building on the distorted electric guitar sound of early records, his 1958 instrumental hit "Rumble" by Link Wray & His Ray Men popularized "the power chord, the major modus operandi of modern rock guitarists,"facilitating the emergence of "punk and heavy rock". Rolling Stone placed Wray at No. 45 of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. In 2013 and 2017 he was a nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Though he began in country music, his musical style went on to consist primarily of rock and roll, rockabilly, and instrumental rock.

Three songs he performed were named for indigenous peoples: "Shawnee," "Apache," and "Comanche." "Apache" was an instrumental composed by Jerry Lordan; it was originally a hit in the United Kingdom for The Shadows in 1960 and reached #2 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. on April 3, 1961 by Danish guitarist Jorgen Ingmann. Wray recorded a cover version 30 years later, when it was also associated with The Ventures and the Incredible Bongo Band.

In 1958, Wray's first hit, "Rumble," was banned in New York and Boston for fear it would incite teenage gang violence. The record was first released on Cadence Records (catalog number 1347) as by "Link Wray & His Ray Men." Before, during, and after his stints with major labels Epic and Swan, Wray released 45s under many names. Tiring of the corporate music machine, he began recording albums using a three-track studio he converted from an outbuilding on his brother's property that his father used to raise chickens.

Jack Rose cited Wray as an influence, as did Iggy Pop and Neil Young. Jimmy Page says that Link Wray had a "real rebel attitude" and credits him in It Might Get Loud as a major influence in his early career. According to Rolling Stone, Pete Townshend of The Who once said, "If it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I never would have picked up a guitar." "The only people I ever really looked up to were Link Wray and Iggy Pop," said Mark E. Smith of The Fall. "Guys like…Link Wray…are very special to me."

Drawn from the one LP and the dozen or so singles Link Wray recorded for Swan Records between 1963 and 1966, Early Recordings, first released in this configuration by Chiswick Records in 1978, remains the best single-disc introduction to this powerful guitar player, even though, at 32 minutes in length, it falls on the brief side. No matter.

It burns like a runaway gas fire, from the ragged, surging "Batman Theme" that opens things clear through to the remake of his signature "Rumble" that closes up the sequence. This is powerful, spooky, and haunting stuff. Wray is said to have invented the power chord and to have traced the template for grunge guitar way back in the mid-'50s, but what he really is, more than anything, is the precedent for players like Jimi Hendrix, a guitarist who wanted to wring every last blast and rattle out of his amp by any means possible.

The lone vocal track, a cover of Willie Dixon's "Hidden Charms" (by way of Howlin' Wolf), is a slice of sneering garage rock that sounds like metal fingernails on an electric chalk board for two minutes and forty five seconds. Powerful stuff, and absolutely essential. 


Link Wray : All Guitars
Shorty Hortom : Drums
Vernon Wray : Bass
Joey Welz : Keyboards


01. Batman Theme (Written-By – N. Hefti)
02. Ace Of Spades (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr., M. Cooper)
03. Cross Ties (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr.)
04. Jack The Ripper (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr., M. Cooper.)
05. Hidden Charms (Written-By – Willie Dixon)
06. I'm Branded (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr.)
07. The Shadow Knows (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr., M. Cooper)
08. Fat Back (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr.)
09. Run Chicken Run (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr.*, M. Cooper)
10. Black Widow (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr.*, M. Cooper)
11. Scatter ( Written-By – N. Wood (2))
12. Turnpike U.S.A. (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr.)
13. Mr. Guitar (Written-By – F. L. Wray Sr.)
14. Rumble (Written-By – Wray Sr., Grant)

Take it FLAC HERE : 118 MB

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