Friday, 13 October 2017

Link Wray

Native American Fred Lincoln 'Link Wray' Jnr is known for his Rock 'N' Roll instrumental track 'Rumble' recorded with his band Link Wray & His Raymen in 1958. It's said to be the first song to use guitar distortion and power chords, inspiring the likes of Jimmy Page, Neil Young & Pete Townshend to first pick up a guitar and paving the way for all future guitar based rock music.

Aside from this landmark track and a few other fuzzy guitar instrumentals I knew very little about Link Wray's work and hearing his self titled 1971 album for the first time recently was as revelatory as discovering Sixto Rodriquez a few years back. 

At the tail end of the 60's Link Wray gave up on music to become a farmer but in 1971 came out of retirement, reinvented his sound and recorded one of the greatest roots albums of all time. 

Recorded on a 3 track tape machine in a converted chicken shack 'Link Wray' is raw and primal, with rasping vocals, out of tune pianos, bare bones drums, claps and stomps. You can clearly see the influence it had on Jack White, most notably on 'My Doorbell' by The White Stripes.

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