Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Link Wray - Apache / Wild Side Of The City Lightsdotdotdotdot
artworkThis reissue of 1989's the Wild Side of the City Lights coupled with Apache is a must have for fans of the Linkster, and for any self respecting guitar worshipper. Link Wray invented the big guitar instro, used the Bo Diddley trick of slit speaker fuzz before there were pedals, and generally created the foundation for dark rock instros, as well as set the direction for metal and other genres to come.
Picks: The Wild One, Dallas Blues, Shawnee, The Joker, Apache, Stars And Stripes Forever, Green Hornet, Dick Tracy, Private Eye, Hotel Loneliness, Raunchy, The Flying Wedge [Drag Race], Don't Leave Me, American Sunset, Wild Side Of The City Lights, Viva Zapata, Street Beat

Track by Track Review


The Wild One dotdotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

This wonderful feedback laden whammy intensified number hearkens back to Jack The Ripper, with an updated lead line, and much better sound. The stark Link Wray big guitar sound is the only vehicle for this kind of minimal instro, and it amplifies the darkest side of the guitar's capability. This is one demented monster.

Dallas Blues dotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

The blues is the vehicle for this instro, with it's slow tortured low down grind. It hints of the thicker side of the British Blues, and the steamier side of the red light district. Slithery and soul wrenching.

Shawnee dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Vibrato heaven! Dark, grating tones, throbbingly delivered with the attitude of a mugger in a dark alley. Progression structured, nasty sounding, and captivating. After a mere 40 years, Link is still the only one who can deliver the goods with this kind of tune.

The Joker dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Intense progression based big chord twang, amped up and vibratoed with a vengeance. The guitar is super compressed and drags you down in the alley whether you wanna go or not. Whoa Nelly, this rules!

Apache dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

When Link Wray takes on some one else's artwork, it's likely that he will reconstitute it into something that he might as well have written. So it is here. Link gives this usually precise and delicate Jorgen Ingmann / Jerry Lordan number major edge and grind, without needing to make it so loud it overwhelms. Fine whammy and ugly tones combine to make for a great track. Link uses whammy instead of string swipes to simulate the arrows...

Stars And Stripes Forever dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Military drums, thumping kick, and Link's huge sound bring a whole different life to this grand old tune. Link's eyes were red, white, and blue when he laid this down. There's real reverence here, boys and girls, and a real sense of honor for the fallen. Haunting and powerful.

Green Hornet dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Mystery men in funny suits, shimmering vibratoed stilettos, and back alley rumbles menace your peace of mind here. Stunningly piercing and powerful. Thumpin' good stuff.

Dick Tracy, Private Eye dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Light weight fluff, eerie sorta accents, and pretty tones. This includes a spoken story line, so it's not really an instro, but the music bed is damn fine.

Hotel Loneliness dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

This melodic instro whammies it's way into your heart. It's gentle, very pretty, sad, and yet quite edgy. The moodiness is quite visual, and the soul of the piece is bared for all to see. Great track.

Raunchy dotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Bill Justis' one hit, made into a vibrating big guitar epic. I can't think of any covers that I actually like of this, except this one. dark and grinding.

The Flying Wedge [Drag Race] dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Screaming tires and pick slides, vibrato, whammy, intense energy, and stark values... Link takes the hot rod instro several notches further down the alley here. Remarkable.

Don't Leave Me dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

This is a very slow, shimmering tune, with sad chords, and very gentle delivery. Link is best known for his power, but his subtleties are what make his power work, and when you get him to relax, that becomes immediately evident. Fine emotional track.

American Sunset dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Not at all sappy sunset music, this is a big almost Indian tune, with a lot of angst and edge. The power is stunning, as is the optimism in this don't-look-back track. Awesome.

Wild Side Of The City Lights dotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Yup, this is back alley vibrato mean, yet magnetically beautiful. It's a basic Link Wray kinda thing, with lots of shimmer, evil edginess, and piercing high note break lines. Intense.

Viva Zapata dotdotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

This is about as close as Link Wray comes to surf, damped and reverbed second guitar, and his big chord vibrato shimmer lead with piercing whammy accents. This is haunting and rhythmic, and unlike any other Link Wray tune. Gorgeous and powerful.

Street Beat dotdotdotdotdot
Link Wray Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Egads! Link's slowest meanest nastiest tone, his darkest mood, his most patient timing, and his most dangerous attack - they are all here. It's a long tortured session that leaves you drained. It's Link Wray! Nuff said!