ARTIST: Link Wray
TITLE: Rumble! The Best of Link Wray
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Charted: Rumble (#16), Raw-Hide (#23), Jack the Ripper (#64)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only Link Wray zealots
LINEUP: Link Wray, his guitar and sidemen
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Influential, yet relatively unknown, early rock-and-roll guitarist has a great full-length compilation that displays his talent and his vision.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: You ever wonder where power chords came from? Well, they came from Link Wray, and such instrumentals as “Rumble” and “Raw-Hide”. Guitarists, especially UK guitarists like Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page, tout Wray as an influence beyond his meager US sales.
Wray wasn’t much on commercial sounds (which is why he didn’t last long on Epic) as much as trying to make UNIQUE sounds. His big hits, the aforemented two and “Jack the Ripper” were definitely new sounds that influenced many to this day. Had he had the distortion and pedals that guitarists now have, I’m sure he’d have used them to great effect. Yet listening to an entire collection over time, Wray seemed to tap the same well a couple times too often, and he’s no vocalist.
Wray’s career bogged down when Swan Records went out of business. He released a comeback album in 1971 (which I’ll review along with his Swan singles output), and had toured with rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon before his death. Wray’s legacy is important, and should be recognized.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: He had a lung removed after an injury sustained in the Korean War and the doctors said he’d never sing again. Well, they were right in a sense.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B: It’s an important collection, but I skipped a couple tracks for the library and you may do the same.