The Link Wray thread

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HorseyBoy
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The Link Wray thread

Post by HorseyBoy » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:28 am

Link seems to pop up in conversation all over the site but I couldn't find a dedicated thread and after a few days on a nothin' but Link musical diet I figured he deserved one. The problem is, where do you start? The obvious answer is in 1958 with "Rumble", where Link is said to have invented the power chord and paved the way for the future of rock. A string of classic instrumental sides follows: "Rawhide" (1959), "Jack the Ripper" (1961), "Ace of Spades" (1965). Those are the songs I first heard on a dodgy old Link Wray and the Wraymen compilation I used to listen to over and over in a friend's garage when I was 16 or 17. For most people, those instrumentals ARE Link Wray.



But the records Link made in the 70s (with vocals!) in his Three Track Shack (a three-track studio in a converted chicken shack on his farm in Maryland) are, to my mind, even better than his early instrumentals. His voice is incredible (he lost a lung to TB, which gives him a rasp all of his own), the songs are great and the sounds - fuzzed out and funky - are fucking incredible. Link was such an uncomplicated player - never played anything too fancy, but every note he hit was always the right one. He had FEEL and TONEZ up the yin-yang.







Even after the Three Track Shack records (they're collected on a the "Wray's Three Track Shack" compilation) sank without a trace, he kept moving around the US and Europe making amazingly good records for a string of different labels.
He had more soul than Boz Scaggs:



He brought more funk than the Stones:



But perhaps my favourite Link Wray-related record is the solo album put out by his brother Vernon in 1972, "Wasted". It was recorded in the Three Track Shack and Link's guitar (acoustic and electric) is all over it. Vernon's voice is very different to his brother's - think Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash - but he knew how to write and record a song. Here are a couple of tracks.







So, let's all share our Link links here :badteeth:
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Post by daCod » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:53 am

Well I suppose this might fit in here then, I guess :tu:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/151129077014?ss ... 1423.l2649
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HorseyBoy
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Re: The Link Wray thread

Post by HorseyBoy » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:31 pm

This thread never really took off, did it? :badteeth:
Anyway, ACE in the UK have re-issued 3-Track Shack, so if you don't have a copy, go get it. Cool interview with Steve Verroca, who produced the original albums, here: http://www.uncut.co.uk/reviews/album/li ... rack-shack

Love this bit about Link tinkering with his gear (the mods he made to Screaming Red, his Yammy SG-2, are insane) and building his own amp with some tubes, a wooden box and industrial cotton:
There was nothing very conventional about Link. He made his own equipment. He bought cheap Japanese guitars from the loan shop and he worked on them. The first, and the only, amp we used, he made out of an old radio. He got some tubes and he built a wood box, and he put some industrial cotton in the box and a 10-inch speaker, and it sounded incredible. There was no buttons, no high, no low, no bass, no treble, just one way: boom! The sound was so huge that it was impossible to record. The amp, the Link Wray sound, leaked into the drum track, it leaked into the piano track. So we decided to put the amp outside in the yard. The only way we could do that was to mic it through the window and it gave us kind of a special sound. We were trying different things. The piano was all rusted, because the shack in winter leaked. We had all blankets all over the place and we miked the piano under the blankets and we started playing, and then Link just dropped his guitar, and said ‘Wait a minute, Steve, something is wrong with this sound, it’s horrible!’ He was right. Something was very wrong. What the problem was – the piano was untunable. You could not tune the piano. We had to tune to the piano, so we all were out of tune! That’s how we got that sound. Then other problems came up. Like, the chickens would fly into the coop, through the window. One of the chickens hit me, boom, right in my face. So Fred, Link’s dad, put a chicken wire on the window.
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jerms
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Re: The Link Wray thread

Post by jerms » Fri Oct 30, 2015 11:13 pm

three track shack rules!!! "fire and brimstone"!!!!
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HorseyBoy
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Re: The Link Wray thread

Post by HorseyBoy » Sat Oct 31, 2015 12:26 am

^ It sure does, Jim! The interview I linked to above is really worth a read. Lots of cool details about how those records came to be made.
Bonus Link ripping shit up in 1975 track:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RDS-mVMrXM

Check the Firebird tuning pegs he put on Screaming Red. And the knob down near the bottom horn was apparently a built-in fuzzbox!
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chankgeez
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Re: The Link Wray thread

Post by chankgeez » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:59 pm

HorseyBoy wrote:This thread never really took off, did it? :badteeth:
What makes you say that?

:coffee:
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charge
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Re: The Link Wray thread

Post by charge » Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:01 pm

Any idea what fuzz that is on "God Out West?"
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HorseyBoy
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Re: The Link Wray thread

Post by HorseyBoy » Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:47 am

^ Besides awesome, I'm not sure. I always figured it wasn't a fuzz box - that it was an amp with a slashed speaker cranked to the max, or maybe even something like the homemade amp talked about above. I even wondered if he somehow went straight into the desk.
Guitar sounds on the "3 Track Shack" recordings are all great.
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waveclipper
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Re: The Link Wray thread

Post by waveclipper » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:37 pm



:stomper: :pissed3:
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Laservampire
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Re: The Link Wray thread

Post by Laservampire » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:47 pm

From what my I've researched, Rumble was recorded on a Les Paul goldtop, and all of his other classic early sides are either his Supro Dual Tone or his Danelectro Guitarlin.

He had a big ass Premier amp which had multiple speakers, and he poked holes in one of the little tweeters.
Ben
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