Title: Guitar Ace-Link Wray Tribute
Genre: Instrumental Rock
Label: Musick Recordings-www.musickrecords.com
Get this baby now!
When you open up the CD booklet for Guitar Ace-Link Wray Tribute, you will see written in a small black font on a white background a quote from Pete Townshend that says-"If it hadn’t been for Link Wray and "Rumble" I would have never picked up a guitar." That one statement puts this entire collection into perspective now does it not? If that doesn’t float your boat how about this description of Link Wray’s music from the AMG site biography-Menacing, freewheeling, rollicking, rowdy, trippy, hypnotic, summery…ummm, conjures up some images if I do say so myself? Oh, so you want the real deal, something that you can actually see with your own two eyes? How does the cover of this CD look? Knocks your pulse up a few notches doesn’t it? I can do you one better, just wait until you see the back cover.
You put all of this together and you have a blockbuster album that pays tribute to one of the greatest rock guitar players that ever lived, and one of the most underrated as far as I am concerned, the king of instrumental rock, the godfather of grunge/garage and the precursor to all forms of punk, Mr. Link Wray. Now how could anyone do this legend of fabled proportions justice? For most of us that will listen to this CD, we were just a gleam in our daddies’ eye at the Link entered the music scene, actually many folks were not even close to being a gleam (like myself). The Wrayman was kickin’ up dust long before Elvis became a household name. Imagine that, an unconventional rough and tumble instrumental guitar man that predates rock ‘n’ roll. This man is in his seventies now and is still rockin’, in fact, Wray is so tough that he lost a lung early in his career to tuberculosis then gave up singing, but he kept playing the six-string as if nothing ever happened. The unfortunate incident that nearly cost him his life would change the course of musical history.
Therefore, we have to come to this point of a long overdue tribute from current musicians of the instrumental, garage-punk persuasion to pay their respects to the man that gave them so much. Some of the best give it a go with some of Wray’s songs, 24 of them to be exact. Sweet Jesus, I do not have clue were to start with all these great songs, and they all are great rock songs that never grow old. My first favorite on the list was The Hellbenders(love the name) covering "Outlaw." Then a red-hot version of "Fire and Brimstone," a vocal rave up by the Boss Martians. Evan Foster can really belt out the old-fashioned rockers like there is no tomorrow, what a perfect voice for that type of song. One of my all-time favorite surf-instro bands Pollo Del Mar, serves up justice to the Wrayman on "Jack the Ripper." That is one of his greatest songs ever recorded besides "Rumble," which by the way is killer too, by The Bambi Molesters. "Raw Hide" will put a twinkle in Wray’s eye I am sure. That one song was Link’s monster hit that put him over the top and got his career into high gear. My hat goes off to Mystery Action for kicking off the entire proceedings by doing a kick ass tribute to that tune and setting the tone for the entire recording. The entire album, all 24 tracks, is outrageous, in fact, I could not have expected anything better. There are a few vocal rarities included as well that were only available on vinyl previously. Speaking of that format, this set of songs will be issued in Spain on Animal Records as a two album set in red colored vinyl. That is sure to be a collector’s piece the day it goes on sale.
If you love Wray’s music and can appreciate the new talent that gives such a respectable tribute to his legacy, this CD will be one of your favorites this year. Long live the king of grunge and that down and dirty distorted guitar sound that became so famous. This makes you want to go out and buy an electric guitar then an amp to punch holes in the speakers, just to see if you can do what Link did long ago. Yes, this music will continue to provide inspiration for generations of garage bands to come. This mark of respect should have happened many years ago for Wray, well, better late than never, and he is still alive to enjoy it all.
©"Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
May 13, 2003
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