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ARTISTS’ LIFE

Link Wray

I’ve got a lot on my plate this Friday morning as I’m in the last month before my annual show at the Principle Gallery so I thought I’d share a little music. 

Wanted something with a bite today and I realized that I hadn’t written about Link Wray over the couple of years that I’ve maintained this blog.  Thought I had better rectify that oversight.

Link Wray, who died in 2005 at the age of 76,  was not part of my childhood and I don’t think his music made much of an impact on the AM radios of our region when he first emerged in the 1950’s.  I didn’t come across him until the late 70’s when he was in the midst of one of many career resurrections, gaining widespread popularity in Europe with his raw guitar instrumentals and with collaborations with other musicians such as Robert Gordon.  I read about him before I heard his music and was intrigued as one writer described how his music stood out from the other music of the 50’s.  This person described Wray’s guitar playing and music as being like long strings of profanity coming out of his radio as a teenager.  It was rough and rude and incendiary for that time.

By the time I heard him, the world had changed.  Wray’s aggressive playing had been adapted and transformed by other artists and he seemed a little in the past.  But listening to it with an eye to how it had contrasted with other contemporary music of its time, I could see the appeal. 

Here’s a clip from 1978 when I first came across him.

watch?v=LUHz0i8_ziA