Sunday, August 7, 2011


"Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray Jr (May 2, 1929 – November 5, 2005) was an American rock and roll guitarist..." That's the first line of the Wikipedia entry for Link Wray. So there are some things on Wikipedia that are true. (Need a citation? Listen to "Rumble." It's all right there.)

As much as I like to heap praise on Wray, he was not infallible. He did some stuff in the early seventies that sort of strayed from what he did best, some bordering on country rock. Just in the nick of time, in the late seventies he teamed up with Robert Gordon, playing rockabilly. Not quite a return to form, his forte really was the simpler distort-o-menace, but he did get back to his greaser roots. And the Gordon sets would allow him to drag out some of his own stuff. Check the 1978 video below and tell me, just how badass do you want your forty nine year old guitar player to be? Dude reeks switchblade. In spirit anyway.

Check his moves at 2:30, just before the first guitar freakout.

Of course his playing isn't technically that challenging. And on his vocal stuff, he's no Pavarotti. To some, his whole package may seem a little over the top. But, come on, "Rumble"? You really think he fights in alleys? Link Wray was an American rock n' roll guitarist, a really great badass rock n' roll guitarist. (No citation needed.)

A couple notes: "Oddball" is take two of "Rumble," before it was called "Rumble." (Dig the effects near the end.) And give a listen to "Run Chicken Run." He's 68 years young on that one.

Link Wray - Oddball mp3 at Probe Is Turning On the People
Link Wray - Rumble mp3 at
Link Wray - Jack the Ripper mp3 at Cocktails and Records
Link Wray - Run Chicken Run (Live, 1998) mp3 at Cold Fury
Link Wray - The Fuzz mp3 at Record Brother
Link Wray - Batman Theme mp3 at Record Brother
Link Wray - Rawhide '63 mp3 at Merry Swankster
Link Wray - Comanche mp3 at RocknDog
Robert Gordon with Link Wray- Rockabilly Boogie mp3 at
Be Wild, Not Evil: The Link Wray Story at Perfect Sound Forever Massive six part bio.
Excellent high resolution early live photo of Wray at I Am Not Jerry
Link Wray at Wikipedia

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