Presse Archiv - Link Wray Rocks - NOW DIG THIS
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.
Presse Archiv - Link Wray Rocks - UK Rock & Roll Magazine
LINK WRAY `ROCKS' (Bear Family)
Aficionados of music of the 50's and 60's will almost certainly have some of guitarist Link Wray's tunes in their collection, that's going to include 'Rumble' which hit the top 20 in the USA and UK in 1958. Apparently, the disc was shunned by some radio stations because it was considered to be inciting violence amongst teen gangs, some achievement for an instrumental. It's here but you have to wait until the 34th and final track for the hit. What you glean listening getting that far is the rich musical legacy this hugely influential guitarist left. There's none of the earliest Western Swing because this collection includes just tracks from 1958 to 1966 over several labels. They feature some lesser known gems including 'Big City After Dark' backing his brother Ray plus two tracks where Link provides the vocals. This is a fascinating collection easily illustrates why artists diverse as Neil Young and the Cramps were huge fans.
Presse Archiv - Link Wray Rocks - Blues & Rhythm
BEAR FAMILY PRESSE
BCD 17600 LINK WRAY "Rocks" BAF 11021 LITTLE RICHARD "The BEst of."
LINK WRAY: Rocks Bear Family BCD 17600 (77:19) Link Wray is reputed to be the loudest of rock guitarists but from personal experience I rate him below Dick Dale though the smaller size of Dale's venue may have been a volumetric factor. Nevertheless, Link certainly is very loud, the reason for which may be explained in Bill Dahl's notes when he states that Fred Lincoln Ray Jr's "childhood bout with the measles had robbed him of a good portion of his hearing". These recordings, dated between 1958 and 1966, were mainly released on the Cadence. Cameo, Epic, Mala, Rumble and Swan labels, and include some rare tracks. Predominantly instrumentals of course, Link himself does sing gruffly on 'Ain't That Loving You Baby' and 'Mary Ann', while his brother Vernon Wray (knrwn as Ray Vernon) vocalises on 'I'm Counting On You' and 'Danger One Way Love'. The CD opens with the great 'Raw Hide' and closes with the classic, slow-paced 'Rumble', the two British hits which make outstanding 'bookends' with dynamic and sometimes tremolo guitar that lives long in the memory. Other outstanding tracks include the easily recognised 'Batman Theme' with deep, ominous notes and a guitar-spoken 'Batmanr: the full sound of 'I'm Branded' with shimmering guitar break; the energetic 'Deuces Wild' with drums upfront; the relaxed tempo and mellow tone of 'Radar; a slow track entitled 'Dinosaur' which includes sax inserts; and a radio/television show derivative 'The Shadow Knows'. With all 34 tracks timed between 1:43 and 2:50 there is little time to be bored. The sound quality is great and the 36-page booklet contains some welcome vintage photos. I'm sure that this digipack will be popular with rocking instrumental fans. Paul Harris
Magazin: Blues & Rhythm , UK Ausgabe Feb. 2020