In Cleveland, many gathered to honor one of rock’s greatest guitarists Link Wray. The concert was held at The Beachland Ballroom on Cleveland’s east side and was presented by inductlinkwray.com. This tribute was one in which everyone who performed was a headliner. Link’s daughter Beth (My Beth) and her family joined us as well as Link’s grandson Chris Webb who performed. It is also worth noting that there were several writers, disc jockeys, many local musicians and even some Rock and Roll Hall of Fame executives in attendance. Hopefully their being able to hear Link’s music being played by some of the most capable to perform it other than himself may help this great instrumentalists’ cause for induction.
Opening the show was Cleveland’s own . They performed the songs of many of Link’s contemporaries and friends. With Jon Paulus on the standup bass, additional flare was added for the rockabilly tunes. Among the songs played for their set were Oh Boy, Hot Rod Lincoln, and C’mon Everybody. Rich, Jon and company got the night off to an excellent vibe in their first ever appearance at the Beachland.
out of Chicago, Ill. played a phenomenal set which included several of Link’s tunes including Oddball, Rumble, Mr. Guitar, and Dinosaur. They even showed their prowess by playing XKE which many of you may know was played by Link alums, The Fender Benders. also played several great surf instrumentals including Dick Tracy, Mr. Moto and Good Cop, Bad Cop. My thanks go out to Phil, Susie, Jack and Larry for providing Cleveland with the opportunity to hear you at your finest.
made the trip up from the greater Washington D.C. area to perform at the tribute. I could think of no greater musicians to have perform at this concert than those who actually played with Link. The Raymen did not disappoint. Those in attendance received a real treat as they heard songs played live that even Link may never have performed in concert. Led by bassist Ed Cynar, they play the music to absolute perfection. Lead Guitarist demonstrated the talent that comes with being the son of a Rayman and having played with Link at the age of 16. They performed such classics as Rawhide, Rumble, Jack The Ripper and Ace of Spades. With highly skilled drummer Pat Greenwood keeping perfect time they dedicated I’m Branded to recently deceased Raymen, Jack Van Horn and Chuck Bennett. In addition to these well known standards they also played such classics as Super 88, Goodtime Joe, Walk Away From Love, Quicksand, and It’s All Over Now ( Baby Blue ). Link Wray’s Raymen also delighted the crowd with an original composition titled which holds true to the Link Wray influence. I recommend Link Wray’s Raymen to any and all who ever have the chance to see them in concert. Thanks Ed, Pat and John for providing us all with an experience which will last forever.
The tribute band which also performed at Link Wray’s rock and roll hall of fame induction into the NAMMYs played next. The band featured on bass, Gary Small of . and on drums. They were led by Link’s grandson Chris Webb on guitar. Opening with Rumble on the Docks they played a high energy set which never came down. In fact many of the bar’s patrons came out to witness them perform. They dedicated Batman to a fan of Link’s who is only 3 three years old and also Run Chicken Run to a contributor of this petition effort. Black Widow/Spiderman, Radar, Switchblade, and Slinky were among songs showcased in their set. Comanche was played with crowd participation and they closed with Link’s signature tune Rumble. It is worth noting that several exclaimed how Chris reminded them of Link while he played and remarked at Jason’s playing on the drums. Top notch musicians with obvious chemistry. If they ever join each other on stage again, I hope to be there. I wish to thank Chris, Gary and Jason for traveling many miles to play for us.
Closing the night and taking us into the next morning was roots rocker, . He opened with Big Time and never let us down from there. He played such well loved songs as Pretty Little Lights,Tough it Out, and Human Cannonball at the request of one dedicated fan. Fans were treated to a special surprise rendition of Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby done Link Wray style just for the tribute with an ode to Link’s influence on rock and roll spoken prior to the performance. I would like to hear this released on disc someday as it blew me away. Webb, Bob and the band proved why rock is still alive and well and on May 9, 2009 it was played in Cleveland, Ohio for Link Wray.
In addition to the entertainment provided by the bands was a slideshow detailing many of Link’s performances and interviews throughout his career. It was our intention to educate and inform the audience of the company Link kept throughout his lifetime and many of the videos helped to do this. This presentation also made it possible for Link to take center stage at his own tribute. There was no better way to close the concert than with footage of the great one himself playing rock’s greatest instrumental.
I would like to thank all the performers, Big Audio Mike for your excellent work at the soundboard and on stage, Gregg and Nick at Brain Damage Inc. for everything you did in making the video presentation possible, Katie Garlock of for photographing this event, and Jill for your tireless help the night of the show, and Angela for everything you have done in making this tribute happen. I would also like to express my gratitude to Tom Hinders of , Guy Moore of , and Jet Sterling of The for their coverage and additional promotion of this tribute and petition. Thanks Jet for having us as guests on the air.
In addition, I would also like to thank Rod Ice for writing two articles about the tribute for the Geauga County Maple Leaf newspaper. He had these words to say about the petition on his own .
The music of Link Wray is still alive and well. It will live on forever in all that it influences. Please join everyone who has already signed the and help support Link’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.