Monday, July 5, 2010

Link Wray And His Raymen - Rawhide - Epic, 1959
I've been neglecting Rock in favor of R&B lately, so what better way to get back to Rock than with Link Wray. To say Link Wray is a legend is an understatement. The guy practically invented the distorted electric guitar sound and the power chord, thereby making punk and heavy rock possible. (note: OK, that's a bit of hyperbole - but he did popularize distortion and was one of the first to make power chords a central part of a song's composition.) He was scaring the shit out of parents in the 50's with nothing more than his menacing sounding guitar! Link Wray's first big hit, "Rumble", was actually banned from many radio stations for "glorifying teenage delinquency". Pete Townshend stated in unpublished liner notes for the 1970 comeback album, "(Link Wray) is the king; if it hadn't been for Link Wray and 'Rumble,' I would have never picked up a guitar." In other liner notes in 1974, Townshend said, of "Rumble": "I remember being made very uneasy the first time I heard it, and yet excited by the savage guitar sounds."

Jeff Beck, Duff McKagan, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan, Neil Young and Bob Dylan have all cited Wray as an influence.
How is Link Wray not a member of the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame yet? Is there no justice in this world?!?!
Today's song, "Rawhide", was the follow-up to "Rumble". It's a straight-forward blaster that wastes no time getting to frantic pace and staying there. Put this song in the jukebox and I guareentee the joint will explode.

"Rawhide" can be had be downloaded from Amazon for .99, but I'd also recommend checking out the rest of the album "Whistle Bait", a wonderful introduction to 50's Rockabilly.
The Epic record label was founded in 1953 and is still thriving today, owned by Sony Music Entertainment and operating under the umbrella of the Columbia/Epic Label Group. Here's the Wikipedia blurb:
Epic Records was launched in 1953 by CBS for the purpose of marketing jazz and classical music that did not fit the theme of the more mainstream Columbia Records. Its bright-yellow, black and blue logo became a familiar trademark for many jazz and classical releases.  By 1960, the label's musical base had been expanded to include all genres. This was done in part to prevent the roster of Columbia Records (which, at the time, had a reputation for releasing material by more established acts) from being overstuffed with newer artists. Subsequently, Epic became better known for its signing of newer, fledgling acts. By the end of the 1960s, Epic earned its first gold records and had evolved into a formidable hit-making force in rock and roll, R&B and country music. Among its many acts, it included Roy Hamilton, Bobby Vinton, The Dave Clark Five, The Hollies, Tammy Wynette, Donovan, The Yardbirds, Lulu, July and Jeff Beck.
Perhaps the YouTube video makes this redundant, but here's a better quality audio clip recorded from my 45:

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