Tuesday, October 8, 2019

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Link Wray" (1971)

"Link Wray" - Link Wray (1971)

This isn't commercial in any way and yet it sounds like something special.  It's very rootsy and pure.  And everything just flows naturally.  The album, at times, has a wonderful Stonesy vibe, sounding much like the "Glimmer Twins” when they put their country-blues spin on.  And it's not at all hard imagining Keith Richards grinning like a Cheshire cat all over this album.  Link Wray may not have given us a masterpiece, but spinning this album today, almost 50 years since being released, tells that it has aged extremely well.  This is a pretty strong hoss.  Not bad for an album virtually ignored when it came out.

The opening track..."La De Da"...sets the table with funky Stones groove followed by some swampy country blues and rock.  There are no Link Wray instrumentals, of which he is best known (“Rumble”)...but “God Out West” rocks out nicely with some nice fuzz reminding everyone he can still weld a pretty-mean guitar solo.  Willie Dixon's..."Tail Dragger"...closes out the album nicely.  Everyone plays with an “in for a penny” commitment and yet it all still feels loose and earthy.  And why not?  Link Wray and the band were recording in a chicken shack.  This is one you'll find yourself playing again and again.  My copy sports a vintage "Poverty Records" sticker...a local Wichita record shop from the 70s.

"Link Wray" (back)

"Link Wray" (gatefold unipak inside)

Polydor label

Polydor company sleeve

"La De Da" - Link Wray / "Link Wray" (1971)

A1  "La De Da" 4:02
A2  "Take Me Home Jesus" 3:17
A3  "Juke Box Mama" 4:26
A4  "Rise and Fall of Jimmy Stokes" 3:58
A5  "Fallin' Rain" 3:42
B1  "Fire and Brimstone" 4:16
B2  "Ice People" 2:59
B3  "God Out West" 3:51
B4  "Crowbar" 4:47
B5  "Black River Swamp" 3:57
B6  "Tail Dragger" 4:29

Link Wray - vocals, guitars, Dobro, bass
Bobby Howard - mandolin, piano
Bill Hodges - piano, organ, b-vocals
Doug Wray - drums, percussion, b-vocals
Steve Verroca - drums, percussion, b-vocals
Gene Johnson - b-vocals

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

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