Saturday, March 20, 2010

12 Songs by Link Wray

How bad-ass was Link Wray? His song "Rumble" was banned from radio play in the 50s for inciting teen violence - and it was an instrumental! That particular piece of rock history was also honorably footnoted for inventing the power chord and inspiring Pete Townshend to pick up his first guitar. A run of ripping instros followed "Rumble", and although most people associate Link Wray with that era, the man's most enduring work may have been waxed in the '70s. On a series of (mostly ignored) albums in that decade, Link pursued a much deeper, more personal sound, influenced equally by Dylan, the Stones, and a wealth of American blues, folk, and country. Link's guitar playing could still be as aggressive as ever, but he could also tap into new layers of subtlety. Most surprising of all, the one-time instrumentalist had found a soulful vocal style that sure as hell didn't sound like it was emanating from a man with only one lung. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that bit about only having one lung. Bad. Ass. Anyway, this is a compilation of tracks from a few of those '70s albums, ending with his downright spectacular cover of Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" from 1979's Bullshot.

12 Songs by Link Wray

1. Backwoods Preacher Man
2. La De Da
3. Southern Lady
4. Black River Swamp
5. Take Me Home Jesus
6. Crowbar
7. Juke Box Mama
8. Fallin' Rain
9. God Out West
10. Fire and Brimstone
11. It Was A Bad Scene
12. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

track #1 and 11 from The Link Wray Rumble (1974)
track #2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 from Link Wray (1971)
track #3 from Stuck In Gear (1975)
track #12 from Bullshot (1979)


Mark said...

I've ALWAYS had a giant-sized soft spot for Link's version of 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue'... mighty nice to finally see it getting a nod! In a perfect world, Dylan would feel completely honoured every time he hears Link's rendition.

Roy Pearl said...

It's awesome, innit? One of those covers that might be the definitive version.