Maybe Linkster got tired somewhere in the early 70s of the known rock n' roll sound helped created and tried something else. And "old" fans at the time were at least in a buzz with this. I always thought that the culprit behind this direction was God. He always was a religious person. I don't know why but he was. Don't get me wrong here, but i always "blamed" devil for Rock & Roll. You know blasts like "Rumble" or "Ace of Spades" CAN'T BE God's work... But who knows.
I learned via the great Swedish garage punkers, the Nomads, the apocalyptic, cataclysmic and in a way mystical "Fire & Brimstone" hymn. Almost instantly mumbled "i gotta find this" and in the short period of half a year finally this LP came to my ownership. It wasn't easy as it is now with the net, then. I'm not gonna tell you lies here. At first felt a strong disappointment. OK i was just 20 y.o. and all i wanted from Link was FUZZZZZZZZZZZZ. The fact that in this Wray era, musicians like Jerry Garcia of Grateful Dead got involved in his works looked to me something of a blasphemy! I mean, what in the hell a stinky hippy looking for, in a studio with the punkster of them all? But that was then. This LP got a bluesy and country feeling, the way Stones adopt these genres and through their twisted view, created monolithic epics like "Beggars Banquet". "Rawhide" and "Jack the Ripper"'s spirits still here but with different guts and balls. Did you ever thought that acoustic guitars, mandolins or pianos may had the same dynamics as a pencil stabbed Fender amplifier? And believe me, they HAVE! The Swanee front sleeve wasn't there for no reason. All the blues Link felt as a kid growing up in the South are here. Listen to Willie Dixon's closing number, "Tail Dragger" and hear Link make hoodoo voodoo leaving behind Keith and Mick obviously in jealousy. That's not country rock. It's fuckin' ballsy rock n' roll disguised in melody and sorrow. I was foolin' around the net the other day and came across of the following piece on the reissue actually of this great and underrated record. Christopher's from BLOG TO COMM writings were always waaaayyyyy cool, and what's next is just a small sample of his brilliant "work"! Oh it's also definitely what i had in me mind for this long play, but i was unable to express it in a way so elegantly fluent as his! Thanks mate and sorry if i hadn't get your prove for using your words!
"Ya wanna know why I actually bought a fresh copy of this Link Wray "comeback" album even though I could have listened to at least most of it if I had only bothered to search out that comp of Link's Polydor years wallowing somewhere in the collection? Well, if you're curious enough all you have to do is click here (WTS note : the last pic in this post), and if the answer doesn't strike you deader than Tim Yohannon then you just haven't been reading my obsessive/compulsive screeds regarding a certain underground groundswell of raw psychosis that I've been prattling on about these past twenty(thirty!)some years! And yes, even this far down the line I must admit that coming across hotcha references such as this 'un just goes to remind me as to what a real hotbed of under-the-gulcher punkism even the oft-loathed early-seventies were, and how in many ways the fifties originators and their music were just as important to the entire hard-edge as the up-and-comers blending all together even at that early stage in the game!
You probably would think this a Jesse Ed Davis album by the cover with Link playing up his American Indian roots to the hilt. No more pompadour and suit and tie here. I do wonder what the typical instrumental rock fan of the day'd have thought seeing this photo of Link...probably woulda believed the guy was going "hippie" with the new long locks and def. loose dress code, but if even the most hard-hearted rocker'd look beyond the updated "trappings" he'd easily enough see this album for what is it. Mainly a pretty durn good sublimely-high energy effort on par with the best garageisms of the early-seventies! It's loads better'n I remembered and if anything this platter, riff-drone and all, proves that maybe Patrick Carr was right with his comparisons twixt Wray's early-seventies act and a certain batch of En Why Icons goin' the opposite way on that train 'round the bend. And sure it ain't the Link Wray sound of the early-sixties but it ain't the James Taylor sound of the early-seventies either and if Wray had been a lot more weak-willed who knows what this longplayer might have ended up like! I shudder at the thought.
Surprisingly enough for a man who only had one lung, Wray sings on all of the tracks here sounding less ferocious than he did on those once-in-awhile vocals of yore, kinda like a real-life version of what Jagger was trying to project at the time with just enough Captain Beefheart thrown in at the right time to really make this sound deep-South voodoo (even on the way-above par Jesus numbers!). Come to think of it this album is pretty much everything the Rolling Stones were trying to ape with their rural trek to Muscle Shoals making me think they would have done better to stop at Wray's Shack instead. Really, this outdoes STICKY FINGERS on a whole load of levels and it ain't funny that people remember that 'un and sorta pass on this as merely another comeback effort.
Great backing band too...not exactly the Raymen in stature even if brother Doug is on drums but pleasant enough in its backwoods surge of electricity stylings which fits in with the swamp-punk utterances of Link and his various gear. The high-pitched background vocals are also the best heard since the Primitives, and the general rural underground feeling is only accentuated by Wray's bloozey playing on dobro which shoulda at least made this a running contender with TEENAGE HEAD for some sorta punkabilly romp of '71 award. Best thing of all is that every track's a winner perhaps because Wray does not fall into the dreaded relevancy trap of the day even when he does get heart to heart on "Ice People" (no cheap Leonard Jeffries references here!), which is more or less a commentary of isolation and alienation in the early-seventies and not a timely anti-war piece of fluff. I should know because this one still stands the test while the outright "meaningful" right-on hits of '71 were already seen as the jokes they were right around when 1973 clocked in. Trust me...I remember "One Tin Soldier" and "Things Get A Little Easier (Once You Understand)" so I know what hippie relevance pandering is!
The die-cut cover repro on this LIMITED EDITION (hurry up get one kiddoes!) is a nice touch if you go for that kinda stuff, but even if this came in a sleeve showing nothing but an up-close shot of each and every one of Dave Lang's beloved hemorrhoids LINK WRAY would be what I'd call all-important rock & roll listening, an especially welcome addition to any collection considering the rock dearth-y period it came outta. It's rare to come in contact with an album that never lets up with its hard-edged attack and the fact that it was a buncha rural middle-agers doing the retro-rural rock trip (some of 'em well pushing forty!) only adds more karmik brownie points to its inherent meaning. And best of all, this is not yet another nostalgia trip many would have thought Wray would have whipped up for some easy bucks but a downright real rock & roll CONTENDER, something we could have used a lot more of back in those wimpass times that's for sure!"