Who was/is Link Wray ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Link Wray may well have been the loudest rock guitarist I’ve ever heard in a concert setting. Considering that over the decades I’ve also luxuriated in the teeth-rattling fretwork of Roy Buchanan and Dick Dale, that’s saying a whole lot (granted, I’m not a heavy metal devotee). That extraordinary volume boost was a necessity for Wray; a childhood bout with the measles had robbed him of a good portion of his hearing (and some of his eyesight too, for that matter). Dedicated Wray fans didn’t mind a temporary bout with deafness in the slightest following one of Link’s signature shredfests; his pulverizing power chords and screaming staccato lead licks were the very definition of what rock guitar has always been and should forever be, making it a small price to pay. What’s more, Link never stopped epitomizing the concept of cool. He proudly wore a leather jacket and shades onstage well into his 70s, when his demographic peers outside the music business had long since donned cardigan sweaters and settled into comfy easy chairs. Stardom didn’t come easily for Wray; he and his brothers had to work long and hard to escape the impoverished circumstances of their youth and find a foothold in the music industry. Fred Lincoln Wray, Jr. was the middle musical sibling, born May 2, 1929 in Dunn, North Carolina. Vernon was five years older than Link, born January 7, 1924 in Fort Bragg, N.C., and Doug five years younger (July 4, 1934). The Wray boys did some singing at the same church services where their mother, a full-blooded Shawnee Indian, preached the gospel. Link picked up some early guitar lessons when he was eight from an African American slide specialist called Hambone, who taught him the rudiments of how to play the blues. The Wray family moved to Portsmouth, Virginia during the mid-‘40s, but Link was in no particular hurry to embark on his musical career—he didn’t buy his first electric axe until 1949. Link was drafted in ’51, stationed first in Germany and then in Korea, where he was felled by tuberculosis. Finally back in the U.S. in 1953, he bought a Les Paul guitar and a Premier amplifier and got serious about his playing. But he was never quite able to duplicate the elegant, complex technique of his hero, Chet Atkins, so he developed his own mind-melting attack. Jazz guitarists Tal Farlow, Les Paul, and Barney Kessel and country picker Grady Martin also caught his ear, although he wouldn’t end up playing like any of them either. The Wrays formed a country band in 1954 to play the rough-and-tumble gin joints around Portsmouth and nearby Norfolk, recruiting their cousin, Brentley ‘Shorty’ Horton, to play bass and provide comic relief with Doug on drums, Vernon on rhythm guitar and occasional piano, and Dixie Neal, the brother of Gene Vincent’s bassist Jack Neal, on steel guitar. They were billed as The Lazy Pine Wranglers for a time, then Lucky Wray (Vernon’s temporary alias, stemming from his gambling skills) and The Palomino Ranch Gang. A connection with pioneering country broadcaster Connie B. Gay in Tidewater, Virginia led to the group minus Neal relocating to Washington, D.C., where Gay had established a popular television program, ‘Town and Country Time,’ hosted by young accordion wielder Jimmy Dean. For all its political sophistication, D.C. was loaded with hillbilly talent and plenty of watering holes in which to showcase it. In addition to the personable Dean, Marvin Rainwater and guitarist extraordinaire Roy Clark were part of the bustling scene. All three of them recorded for producer Ben Adelman, the owner of Empire Studio there (West Virginia native Patsy Cline cut her first demos, long since lost, under Adelman’s supervision with Dean’s Texas Wildcats backing her). Although his legend rests solidly on a legacy of blistering instrumentals, Link’s debut release in January of 1956 for Adelman’s Kay label paired two of his raucous rockabilly vocals, I Sez Baby and the all but incomprehensible Johnny Bom Bonny, as half of an EP that Link shared with the obscure duo of Bob Dean and Cindy. Adelman indefatigably hustled his finished masters to various labels; he found a home for three country-oriented singles by the considerably smoother-voiced Lucky Wray (It’s Music She Says, Got Another Baby, and Teenage Cutie) at H.W. ‘Pappy’ Daily and Don Pierce’s Starday Records in 1956-57, the last one sub-billing Link and Doug on its label. Starday released the masters through its custom service rather than issuing them on the main label, intending them for regional exposure only with the manufacturing costs paid by the artists themselves. Right in the middle of it all, the TB that Link had contracted in Korea sent him to the hospital in the summer of 1956 all the way until March of the following year. A grueling operation to remove his left lung largely put an end to any serious singing aspirations; from here on, Wray would concentrate on his blazing guitar technique and mostly leave the vocal duties to others, in particular his brother Vernon, whose prospects looked bright once Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann’s Philly-based Cameo Records brought him aboard in mid-1957. The songwriting duo was on a real roll, having penned Elvis’ pop chart-topper (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear. Their label was too, scoring its own number one seller that same year with Charlie Gracie’s Butterfly. As Lowe led the choir-cushioned orchestra, Vernon crooned the Mann/Lowe copyright Remember You’re Mine, issued in June of ’57 after the label flipped the singer’s name so he was billed as Ray Vernon. Cameo even sprang for a full-page ad promoting the single in ‘The Billboard.’ But any hopes of a hit were dashed when Pat Boone covered the tune for Dot, taking it into the Top Ten and leaving Ray’s original in the dust (its bouncy flip Evil Angel might have nicely suited Gracie). Cameo responded to Boone’s cover by replacing Remember You’re Mine with I’ll Take To-morrow (To-day) as Evil Angel’s plattermate; Link’s biting axe was prominent on the new ballad, unlike its sedate predecessor. Cameo tried again with Ray that autumn with the rocking I’m Counting On You, penned by Atlanta-born blues shouter Chuck Willis (1957 was a big year for Chuck; his revival of the ancient blues C.C. Rider for Atlantic, perfectly tempoed for dancing The Stroll, sailed to the top of the R&B charts). This time, Link made his presence felt with a searing solo, and even if the arrangement was a tad rough around the edges, Ray’s encore outing stood as a contender for hitdom yet didn’t quite make the grade.

 

 

More information about Link Wray on Wikipedia.org

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Early Recordings (LP) Link Wray: Early Recordings (LP) Art-Nr.: LPCH6

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(ACE) 14 tracks 1963-64 / re-pressed by popular demand - a classic!
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Live In '85 & Growling Guitar (CD) Link Wray: Live In '85 & Growling Guitar (CD) Art-Nr.: CDWIK972

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(Ace Records) 25 tracks (77:37) - 'Live in '85' recorded at various gigs in January & February 1985 - 'Growling Guitar' contains a variety of hard to find material plus some previously unreleased tracks.
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Shadowman (CD) Link Wray: Shadowman (CD) Art-Nr.: CDCHD638

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(Ace Records) 12 tracks (54:07) - The last real rock'n'roll star delivers his finest record in decades with a power & honesty that is the spirit of Link Wray and the very essence of Rock'n'Roll. Awesome!! There are few people left on the...
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Link Sings Elvis (LP, 10inch) Link Wray: Link Sings Elvis (LP, 10inch) Art-Nr.: LP10CH1553

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(Ace Records UK) 8 Tracks - His music was used in many movies like Desperado, Independence Day, 12 Monkeys, Blow or Pink Flamingos. His songs contributed in the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, together with the music of...
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Live... My Father's Place 1979 (CD) Link Wray: Live... My Father's Place 1979 (CD) Art-Nr.: CDKL5079

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(Klondike Records) 16 Tracks - Link Wrays Erbe liegt in dem Powerchord, der Koryphäen wie Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Ray Davies, Jeff Beck und Jimi Hendrix inspirierte. Bahnbrechende Hits (Rumble, Raw-Hide, Jack The Ripper...
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Link Wray Rocks (CD) Link Wray: Link Wray Rocks (CD) Art-Nr.: BCD17600

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1-CD (Digipac) with 36-page booklet - 34 tracks. Total playing time: approx. 79 minutes. • Link Wray - there had to be a release of this great rocker in our highly acclaimed ROCKS! series! • Recordings officially licensed by various...
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Walkin' With Link (CD, Longbox Packaging) Link Wray: Walkin' With Link (CD, Longbox Packaging) Art-Nr.: CDEK47904-L

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(1992/Sony) 20 legendary 1959/60 Epic masters ( incl.7 previously unreleased versions/alternate tracks, studio chatter) (48:38) 16 page booklet with notes from Billy Miller. Mastered by Vic Anesini, Sony Studios, New York. This is the...
$22.41
Mary Ann - Ain't That Lovin' You Babe (7inch, 45rpm) Link Wray & The Wraymen: Mary Ann - Ain't That Lovin' You Babe (7inch,... Art-Nr.: 45REP23062

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Repro - cult 45 guitar rockers w. vocals by the one and only Linkster - reproduction of a white label radio station copy - play loud!
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The King Of Distortion Meets The Red Line Rebels - Link Wray And Others (CD) Link Wray & Others: The King Of Distortion Meets The Red Line... Art-Nr.: CDPSALM2369

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(Righteous) 27 tracks featuring eight tracks by Link Wray and 19 tracks by various artists from 1941 to 1962
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Son Of Rumble (7inch, 45rpm, PS, SC) Link Wray: Son Of Rumble (7inch, 45rpm, PS, SC) Art-Nr.: 45NS566577

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(Easy Eye Sound - Warner Custom) 2 tracks - picture sleeve - small center - The legendary guitarist's never-released follow-up to 'Rumble', the song that introduced the world to power chords and intentional distortion, will be released...
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Be What You Want To (LP, Ltd.) Link Wray: Be What You Want To (LP, Ltd.) Art-Nr.: LPTWM08

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(Tidal Waves Music) 11 tracks - Re-issue of the original 1973 'Polydor' Lp album - Record Store Day 2017 release - Limited to 2500 copies worldwide Link Wray (1929-2005), born of Shawnee Native -American parents, was an American rock and...
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Dixie-Doodle - Raw-Hide  (7inch, 45rpm, BC, CS) Link Wray & The Wraymen: Dixie-Doodle - Raw-Hide (7inch, 45rpm, BC, CS) Art-Nr.: 45-15-2210

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A - Dixie-Doodle B - Raw-Hide
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Link Wray & The Wraymen (LP) Link Wray & The Wraymen: Link Wray & The Wraymen (LP) Art-Nr.: LPRUM201103

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(2011/Rumble Records) 12 Tracks - Reissue of the rare 1960 Epic album! With a spectacular guitar!
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Link Wray And The Wraymen (LP) Link Wray & His Raymen: Link Wray And The Wraymen (LP) Art-Nr.: LPNOT206

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(2015/Not Now Music) 12 Tracks - Reissue of the original 1960 Epic album!
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Mordicai Jones (LP, Ltd.) Link Wray: Mordicai Jones (LP, Ltd.) Art-Nr.: LPTWM06

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(2017/Tidal Waves Music) 10 tracks - Re-issue of the original 1972 'Polydor' album - deluxe gatefold jacket edition, limited to 1200 copies worldwide. Includes insert and exclusive liner notes
$35.90
Link Wray & His Raymen - Music From The Motion Picture 'Pulp Fiction' (CD EP) Link Wray: Link Wray & His Raymen - Music From The Motion... Art-Nr.: CDRE501

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​(1994/Roller Coaster) 4 Tracks - Original Swan recordings 1963-1966 that were used in the movie but missed on Quentin Tarantino's original motion picture soundtrack album 'Pulp Fiction'! This is the alternate Pulp Fiction soundtrack! 4...
$15.67
Hillbilly Wolf - Missing Links Vol.1 (LP) Link Wray: Hillbilly Wolf - Missing Links Vol.1 (LP) Art-Nr.: LPNR210

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(1990/Norton Records) 16 Tracks - Ravin' rockabilly roots of Lucky Wray & the Palomino Ranch Gang thru the early days of the Raymen! Unreal, classic rocked up hillbilly hall o' fame- worthy boppers! Soo-perb!
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Some Kinda Nut - Missing Links Vol.3 (LP) Link Wray: Some Kinda Nut - Missing Links Vol.3 (LP) Art-Nr.: LPNR212

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(1990/Norton Records) 15 Tracks - Link & the Raymen in their prime-- early & mid-sixties rarities! While the early 60's were primo years for Link Wray & the Raymen, the arrival of Brit combo madness in early '64 relegated nearly alla the...
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The Best Of Link Wray (CD, Japan) Link Wray & His Raymen: The Best Of Link Wray (CD, Japan) Art-Nr.: CDTECX23997

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(1995/Go Cat Go) 30 Tracks - A Japanese rarity that includes Wray's favorite Swan and Epic material 1959-1964!
$56.11
Norton Juke Box Series Vol.4 - The Black Widow (7inch, 45rpm) Link Wray & His Raymen: Norton Juke Box Series Vol.4 - The Black Widow... Art-Nr.: 45NR804

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(1994/Norton) 2-Track Single with big center hole ready for your juke box in a Link Wray-Norton company sleeve!
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Norton Juke Box Series Vol.3 - Hidden Charms (7inch, 45rpm) Link Wray & His Raymen: Norton Juke Box Series Vol.3 - Hidden Charms... Art-Nr.: 45NR803

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(1994/Norton) 2-Track Single with big center hole ready for your juke box in a Link Wray-Norton company sleeve!
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Early Recordings - Papersleeve Link Wray: Early Recordings - Papersleeve Art-Nr.: CDCHM6

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(2006/ACE) 14 tracks
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Early Recordings - Good Rockin' Tonight (CD) Link Wray: Early Recordings - Good Rockin' Tonight (CD) Art-Nr.: CDCHD1460

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“This Ace album has it all. If you only have to have one Link Wray album this is it.” Bobby Gillespie Listening to this record gives me the same feeling as Ritchie Valens’ brilliant instrumental ‘From Beyond’ – recorded in 1958, the same...
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The Swan Singles Collection (CD) Link Wray: The Swan Singles Collection (CD) Art-Nr.: CDROLL3011

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(1997/ROLLERCOASTER) 26 tracks 1962-66 / digipack with 20 page booklet - back in stock!
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Missing Links Vol.4 - Streets Of Chicago (CD) Link Wray: Missing Links Vol.4 - Streets Of Chicago (CD) Art-Nr.: CDCED253

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(1997/ Norton) 17 Tracks - Rarities, incl. 16 previously unissued tracks!​
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Indian Child (CD) Link Wray: Indian Child (CD) Art-Nr.: CDEPC473100

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(1993/SONY) 10 Rracks (47:34) - Recorded and mixed at Sony Music Mobile Home, Copenhagen, Denmark. last copies - rare now!
$19.04
Be What You Want To (CD) Link Wray: Be What You Want To (CD) Art-Nr.: CDACA8066

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(ACADIA) 11 tracks (Polydor 1973) The 1973 San Francisco recordings featuring Jerry Garcia and Commander Cody And His Lost Planet Airmen
$67.34
Walkin' With Link (CD) Link Wray: Walkin' With Link (CD) Art-Nr.: CDEK47904

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(1992/Sony) 20 legendary 1959/60 Epic masters ( incl.7 previously unreleased versions/alternate tracks, studio chatter) (48:38) 16 page booklet with notes from Billy Miller. Mastered by Vic Anesini, Sony Studios, New York. This is the...
$16.79 $20.16
Slinky - The Epic Sessions 1958-61 (2-CD) Link Wray & The Wraymen: Slinky - The Epic Sessions 1958-61 (2-CD) Art-Nr.: CDSC11098

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(2002/Sundazed) 46 tracks
$28.03 $33.64
Big City After Dark (2x7inch, 45rpm, EP, PS) Link Wray: Big City After Dark (2x7inch, 45rpm, EP, PS) Art-Nr.: 45S250

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(2012/Sundazed) Gatefold/Klappcover - Limited Edition. His ultra rare 1962 MALA recordings - prime guitar assault!Upon being knocked sideways by hearing Link Wray for the first time, one anonymous online enthusiast exclaimed, “What year...
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3-Track Shack (2-CD) Link Wray: 3-Track Shack (2-CD) Art-Nr.: CDCHD1451

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(2015/Ace) 33 tracks, original Polydor and Virgin recordings, 1971-73, 28-page booklet with liner notes, label shots and rare photos. 3 original 1970s albums on double-CD, 'Link Wray' (1971), 'Mordicai Jones' (1972), and 'Beans And...
$24.66
Rare Demos & Alternate Takes 1958-61 Link Wray & The Wraymen: Rare Demos & Alternate Takes 1958-61 Art-Nr.: LP2011092

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(Rumble) 16 tracks (Epic and Cadence)
$16.13
Rumble And Roll (CD) Link Wray: Rumble And Roll (CD) Art-Nr.: CD250346

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(2013/Music Avenue) 16 tracks (43:42) digipac. Recorded 1969-1970 at Sound Studios, Baltimore, MD
$14.55
Rumble - The Swag 7inch, 45rpm, ps, colored wax, limited pressing Link Wray: Rumble - The Swag 7inch, 45rpm, ps, colored... Art-Nr.: 45S315

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(Sundazed) 2 tracks Released in April 1958, Rumble b-w The Swag was Link Wray’s opening salvo. Overnight, Rumble completely changed the nascent rock ‘n roll landscape. Full of crunch, swagger, menace and tribal tattoo rhythms, it was the...
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Wray, Link & The Raymen Link Wray: Wray, Link & The Raymen Art-Nr.: LPED149

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(1985/Demon) 16 tracks
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The Pathway Sessions Link Wray: The Pathway Sessions Art-Nr.: CDCHD1154

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Recordings originally made at Britain's famous rock'n'roll studio, Pathway. Re-released on Ace in 2007, the songs have been re-mixed from the original 8-track masters. Originally released on two Ace LPs('Apache', Wild Side Of The City...
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King Of The Wild Guitar (CD) Link Wray: King Of The Wild Guitar (CD) Art-Nr.: CDCHD1143

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(Ace Records) 25 tracks (72:05) 1958-1995 The King of the Wild Guitar rips through a five-decade career-spanning 25 cuts of extreme disortion. Not for the faint-hearted.
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Law Of The Jungle - 1964 Swan Demos 180g Link Wray: Law Of The Jungle - 1964 Swan Demos 180g Art-Nr.: SLP5193

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The fiery guitar who created the blueprint for everyone from the Kingsmen to the Cramps has been electrfying the Rock 'N' Roll universe , straddling five decades with his blistering sound. Captured here on Law of the Jungle: The '64 Swan...
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Law Of The Jungle - 1964 Swan Demos Link Wray: Law Of The Jungle - 1964 Swan Demos Art-Nr.: CDSC6221

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(2005/SUNDAZED) 15 tracks The fiery guitar legend who created the blueprint for everyone from the Kingsmen to the Cramps has been electrifying the Rock 'N' Roll universe, straddling five decades with his blistering sound. Captured here...
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Jack The Ripper - 180g Link Wray: Jack The Ripper - 180g Art-Nr.: SLP5192

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LP on SUNDAZED LP auf SUNDAZED RECORDS von Link Wray - Jack The Ripper - 180g With his rawboned and ravaged instrumentals from the early '60s, Link Wray single-handedly made the guitar the ultimately cool instrument of choice for a whole...
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The Swan Singles Collection 1963-67 2-LP 180g Link Wray: The Swan Singles Collection 1963-67 2-LP 180g Art-Nr.: SLP5178

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LP auf SUNDAZED RECORDS von Link Wray - The Swan Singles Collection 1963-67 2-LP 180g Pressed at R.T.I. Fred Lincoln 'Link' Wray was a man out of time. He lived in the future, waiting for the rest of the music world to catch up....
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Law Of The Jungle (CD) Link Wray: Law Of The Jungle (CD) Art-Nr.: CDCHD837

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(ACE Records) 30 Tracks - Link Wray never disappoints. This CD contains classic Swan 45s, rarities and seven stunning previously unreleased stereo mixes from the original Swan label multi-tracks In the scheme of things, Link Wray...
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Barbed Wire (CD) Link Wray: Barbed Wire (CD) Art-Nr.: CDCHD770

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Vendetta - Facing All The Same Tomorrows (7inch, 45rpm, PS) Link Wray: Vendetta - Facing All The Same Tomorrows... Art-Nr.: 45NR003

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(Norton Rcords) 2 tracks - picture sleeve​ - Vintage early 60's Link on superb instrumental Vendetta, plus unished 1965 vocal demo on the flip. Boffo sleeve!
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