Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Link Wray - s/t album

Although Link Wray is mostly know for his hit 'Rumble', in the early 70s he left behind the greased back hair rockabilly Dick Dale sounds of the 50s to make the first of what are now known as the 'Three Track Shack' recordings. This recording and the two that followed - Beans & Fatback and Mordecai Jones - bear little resemblance to what you would expect from Link. Instead your ears are greeted with a rootsy Americana blues sound. Imagine the Rolling Stones mixed with old country and bluegrass - throw in some piano, fiddle, mandolin and you might get some idea of what this sounds like. The album Link Wray has an honest sound that is only accentuated by the use of a primitive three track. In fact the studio was a converted chicken coop studio on his Maryland farm!

The lyrics are raw - touching on concepts of poverty, racism and even a bit of salvation. And the words he sings ring true because Link lived and knew poverty from his own Shawnee background. The album captures a darker side of an impoverished America that once was - rusted out trucks, clapboard houses, hopelessness and despair. A world that has been hidden by a modern avalanche of computers, fast food and LCD TVs.

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