Archive for January, 2009

Missing Link? – again

Posted in General with tags , , , , on January 18, 2009 by inductlinkwray

I would first like to begin by extending my congratulations to Wanda Jackson on her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She is quite often referred to as the “Queen of Rockabilly” and rightfully so. For those of you that doubt the petition process, Wanda’s was begun by Elvis Costello. I would also like to congratulate Jeff Beck , a guitar virtuoso that has in the past cited Link Wray as an influence on him. I do not care to say very much about the “Rapper’s Delight” portion of the rock hall’s exhibits except that I wonder why they are being inducted into a “ROCK” hall and whether or not the nominating committee needs the music that is/was rock and roll to be defined for them.

Another year in which Link Wray has not been inducted. According to the website Link has been eligible since 1985. He could have been inducted with the inaugural classes. He could’ve been recognized alongside the pioneers of the music like he should have. This website poses the question “will Link Wray be inducted?” My question and that of many of his fans is why hasn’t he already been inducted? In my opinion for his most signature song ‘Rumble’ alone Link Wray deserves induction. If I were to bring into the argument ‘Raw-Hide’, ‘Jack The Ripper’, ‘Ace of Spades’, ‘I’m Branded’, ‘Deuces Wild’, ‘Run Chicken Run’, etc… (I believe I have illustrated my point here.)

Link Wray could be inducted as an early influence. His guitar innovations laid the initial groundwork for all that guitar hero craze that swept through rock in the 60s – 70s, 80s. He was a pioneer in the use of distortion and feedback. He recorded the single most powerful and influential D chord in all of rock and roll.

Link Wray could be inducted as a performer. Those of us that were fortunate to see him live can attest to this. Stories abound of the early days of playing biker clubs in the D.C. area. Link would taunt the very same bikers that would be taunting him. He would win them over with his guitar. He truly played with raw power. He would stalk the stage commanding it, drawing off the energy of the crowd. “I just love to play for the kids ya’ know” Link has been quoted as saying. He thoroughly enjoyed the resurgence he received the last several years of his career.

Link Wray could also be inducted as a songwriter. He would stay up all hours of the night writing songs. A family member recently recounted for me memories she has of her father when she was little. Seeing him sitting with his guitar, paper and pencil in hand when she went to bed and him being in the exact same pose when she woke up until the song was finished. He was absolutely committed to his music being played to his satisfaction. He often walked away from many record deals because of this commitment. He is not often thought of as a songwriter and this may be due to the fact that many of his early hits the songwriting credits are given to his father and Milt Grant. I assure you that Link Wray was the author of these hits.

In summary, Link Wray deserves induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! He was a true innovator of rock music throughout his illustrious career. He laid the foundation for the entire music that had spawned from his power chords let alone the actual facility which has been built as a shrine to the music. Imagine what they would have to view on exhibit if they did not already have inducted the many guitarists which were influenced by Link Wray? Wouldn’t be much more than ‘Climbing Up A High Wall’ now would it?

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January 15th- Link Wray Day

Posted in General with tags , , , , on January 1, 2009 by inductlinkwray

In 2006, Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. declared January 15th Link Wray Day in the state of Maryland. The official document was accepted by his grandson, Chris. This day also marked a tribute concert for Link at El Boqueron II in Rockville. The concert featured Robert Gordon who recorded two rockabilly albums with Link in the 70s. A tandem effort that was beneficial to both careers. Also headlining the event was Eddie Angel, the famed surf guitarist of Los Straitjackets celebrity. Eddie Angel recorded a cover cd titled Eddie Angel plays Link Wray in 2006. It features many hits as well as lesser known songs of Link. A tribute cd without Link Wray ‘Rumble’ imagine that. Appearing were also Dave Letterman band drummer Anton Fig, the A-Bones, and Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane founding member Jack Casady. Casady reunited with his high school band The Triumphs for the performance. The Triumphs frequently opened for Link Wray & The Raymen. Little mention was made in the press that The Raymen performed at this event. No one else can capture the sound of Link Wray’s Raymen- no one. All three of them played with Link and Guitarist John Van Horn’s father Jack was also a long time Rayman. Bassist Ed Cynar has been with The Raymen since the early 60s and knows their sound and how to define it perfectly. Drummer Pat Greenwood first played with Link Wray in the late 70s. Also appearing was the band Switchblade.

Perhaps the capstone of the event was that Link Wray’s American family gathered onstage to sing ‘ Will the Circle be Unbroken.’

Link’s connection to Maryland is multi-faceted in that the Wray family farm is located in Accokeek. Link made his home here through much of the 50s, 60s & 70s. The family farm was also home to the infamous chicken coop converted home 3 track recording studio where Link and band made numerous recordings. Link Wray also lived in Waldorf, Maryland with brother Doug for a period in the 70s and early 80s. Wray also made a home in White Plains, Maryland with his wife Sharon for a time.

Unfortunately, I would presume many area natives are unaware of the legendary guitarist that once called Maryland home. Hopefully Link Wray Day brought many to come to know great music and guitar work that had an influence on numerous rock genres. If you’re in Maryland on January 15th be sure to play some Link Wray tunes, turn up the volume to Link’s preferred decibel level and celebrate Link Wray Day.

To join us in inducting Link Wray into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sign the .

An article featured in the contained a review of the tribute and information on Link Wray Day.

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