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Link Wray & the Wraymen [LP]


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Performer Notes
  • Wray's first album, as was often the custom in 1960, was a slapped-together affair, combining both sides of his first three Epic singles with half a dozen other numbers. One of those singles was his only hit of any size besides "Rumble," the Duane Eddy-ish "Raw-Hide"; another was a thinly disguised (and inferior) reworking of his classic "Rumble," here titled "Ramble." While this is a fine early instrumental rock & roll album, it's actually more inhibited and less creative than his classic work for Swan in the early and mid-'60s, and might slightly disappoint those who've come across some of those later ace tracks (like "Jack the Ripper") prior to hearing this stuff. Still, the Linkster's trademark fuzzy low tones and more strangled, higher-pitched faster runs make themselves known throughout. The songs do tend to play off pretty basic early rock & roll chord progressions, and exhibit a more pronounced Duane Eddy influence (not only on "Raw-Hide," but also on "Right Turn" and "Caroline") than his later work would. Although this has been reissued as a stand-alone CD, all of the songs are also on the two-CD Slinky! The Epic Sessions 1958-1961, which is a recommended alternative, as it has about three dozen additional tracks recorded during the same era. ~ Richie Unterberger
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