BEAR FAMILY PRESSE
BCD 17600 LINK WRAY "Rocks" Magazin: NOW DIG THIS Ausgabe 11 - 2019
Link and a couple sung by his brother Vernon (aka Ray Vernon) with The Linkster on guitar. Link sounds inebriated on his eccentric version of the slow blues 'Ain't That Lovin' You Baby', a hit for Jimmy Reed. His vocal is quite manic on Ray Charles' Mary Ann'. Vernon's two vocal offerings are Chuck Willis'I'm Countin' On You', a decent stop / start rocker, and the bluesy original, 'Danger One Way Love'. on which he also played piano. (The booklet's discography by Nico Feuerbach lists the former as being cut in February 1958 at the 'Rumble' session, but that's hardly likely as it had been issued as Cameo 115 in September 1957.)
Whilst the above selections merit their inclusion in the set and add variety, Link's legacy lies in his brutal instrumentals. As Bill Dahl writes in his terrific liner notes: "No guitarist ever said more with a handful of titanic power chords." 'Raw Hide', 'Batman Theme', 'I'm Branded', 'Jack The Ripper', 'Run, Chicken, Run', 'Ace Of Spades' and his immortal signature tune 'Rumble', inspired in part by The Diamonds' The Stroll', are all here. The titles have been well chosen and I rated seventeen of the remainder as high quality. The slow original 'Big City After Dark' and cover of Bill Doggett's hectic 'Hold It' were credited to Ray Vernon & The Raymen on initial release.
The Latin-flavoured 'El Toro' and 'Pancho Villa' are essentially the same tune and both versions are fine. 'Tijuana', as one would expect, is another with a Mexican flavour. 'Slinky' features jungle drums and 'Right Turn' is a raw bash. The snappy 'Hand Clapper' and `Studio Blues', misleadingly titled as it's a solid mover, have the band's pal Switchy on sax. 'Deuces Wild' is gutsy and 'Hang On' is pacy with a potent sting. 'Turnpike USA' is an infectious mover and 'Dance Contest' doesn't hang around either. The 'Apache'-like 'The Outlaw' is quite sparse
and the pacy 'Mr. Guitar' is aptly named. The sinister `The Shadow Knows' and Duane Eddy-ish 'Dixie Doodle' also make it into this category.
I may be nitpicking here but I thought six were repetitive and lacked the class of the others. These were 'The Swag', 'Comanche, 'The Black Widow', 'Radar', 'Dinosaur' and 'Big City Stomp'. The digipack comes with a 36-page illustrated booklet packed with photos, label shots and record covers. Rumble, young man, Rumble! Harry Dodds