Link Wray: Early Recordings (Ace/Border)

 |   |  1 min read

Link Wray: Jack the Ripper
Link Wray: Early Recordings (Ace/Border)

When we recently wrote about Link Wray it was to draw attention to an unexpectedly interesting double disc compilation 3-Track Shack. It brought together three of his albums from the early Seventies where he effectively worked a country-cum-blues rock area along the axis of The Band and Exile-era Rolling Stones.

The revelation was not just in the music but in Wray's vocals, because if you knew his name at all it would have been for his raw guitar playing, notably on the proto-garage hit Rumble from the late Fifties.

Link Wray has always been considered one of the great guitarists of the early rock'n'roll era – which, again, made 3-Track Shack such a revelation – and if you want to hear his visceral instrumental power then this 29-track collection is just the job.

It collects a swag of his instrumentals from the late Fifties and early Sixties (the Early Recordings collection initially released in '79) plus material from the Good Rockin' Tonight album from '82. It closes with his rough-edge '83 take on Please Please Me.

As a plank-spanker Wray took "surf guitar" to the dark side, Chuck Berry to a knife-fight, Western-framed instrumentals to the drag strip and Willie Dixon blues close to Blue Cheer (as on Hidden Charms, one of the few songs here with his distinctively ragged vocals).

He could walk a lonely avenue or mix it with the hoodlums.

Link Wray – who died in late 2005 – was a great American outsider whose music was consistently acclaimed by the Cramps, Bruce Springsteen (who invited him to London to play a few songs at shows when the Boss was there in '82, including I Fought the Law as the encores) and Jimmy Page who said in the Jack White doco It Might Get Loud that he had been a major influence.

Iggy Pop, White, Pete Townshend and others have all said much the same.

When we wrote about Wray previously we offered a potted history of his life, but what you need is just to hear is this rubbed raw rock'n'roll overview and that 3-Track Studio collection.

Legendary . . . and loud.

Share It

Your Comments

Relic - Jan 30, 2016

only knew Wray from the song “Stingray” which I played for years and a few 70s mentions in music papers, so got “3 Track Shack” intending to distill it down to one album, am still liking most of the 33 tracks, lo fi like my old friend Houndog Taylor–Japanese guitars and all–never too late to hear something cool

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various Artists: Born into This; The Music of Rattle (Rattle)

Various Artists: Born into This; The Music of Rattle (Rattle)

As regular readers of these pages will know (Ha! Always wanted to say that), the Auckland-based label Rattle -- and its imprint Rattle Jazz -- have been Firm Favourites at Elsewhere for delivering... > Read more

Waco Brothers and Paul Burch: Great Chicago Fire (Bloodshot)

Waco Brothers and Paul Burch: Great Chicago Fire (Bloodshot)

Sounding like uncles who grew up on country-punk, Joe Ely's Texas rebel rock and some early Seventies Stones albums, the rootsy but rocking Waco Brothers here pull few surprises out of those... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH INTERVIEWED (2000):  The people's poet laureate

BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH INTERVIEWED (2000): The people's poet laureate

Britain's most popular serious performance poet for more than two decades, Benjamin Zephaniah, laughs as he recalls hating poetry as a kid. If you said you liked it, it was as if you were... > Read more

ERIC CLAPTON; THE FIRST 25 YEARS CONSIDERED: The living link between hippie and yuppie

ERIC CLAPTON; THE FIRST 25 YEARS CONSIDERED: The living link between hippie and yuppie

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Eric Clapton -- once called "God" by his devotees -- ceased to be relevant. Certainly he still plays to huge audiences and his guitar playing remains... > Read more