Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Link Wray and his Raymen - Walkin' With Linkdotdotdotdot
artworkWalkin' With Link collects the sum total of Link Wray's sessions residing in Epic's vaults. Epic didn't release an album, so the tracks that were released were single only and in mono. The balance of the disc are stereo remixes, plus some perviously unreleased tracks. Like every Link has recorded, there's magic in these tracks. Link Wray is just about the only player who can create very simple riff rock and make it shine.
Picks: Slinky, Ramble, Hand Clapper, Raw-Hide, Dixie-Doodle, Studio Blues, Comanche, Right Turn, Radar, Lillian, Dance Contest, Guitar Cha-Cha, Rumble Mambo, Comanche, New Studio Blues, Walkin' With Link

Track by Track Review

Slinky dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Zippy comes to mind. This great track uses flying Spanish double picked tones and energetic playing to convey an irresistible melody line. Instantly personal and magnetic. It's funny, but this is just one of the best tracks in quite a while, yet there are few descriptors that come to mind other than bitchin' and must have.

Ramble dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fine track, with the organ trading whistling warbling lines with the incredibly good double picked lead guitar. This is a spectacular and happy track.

Hand Clapper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mean double picked low-E lead, whistlin' organ beneath, and a very simple riff that proves the power of the note when employed carefully, like Dick Dale's "The Victor." Fine tune.

Raw-Hide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Who'da thunk it? Paul McCartney's "Cayenne" makes credible fodder for a pretty surf instro, melodic, sad, and haunting. Susan's arrangement is nicely balanced, and the tone is most pleasing.

Dixie-Doodle dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Link Wray provides the tune, Susan and friends provide the surf sounds. "Trembler" serves as the intro and outro for "Ace Of Spades," both of which are much cleaner than the Linkster, while neither loses its bite. The drums are haunting. Fine track.

Studio Blues dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a '98 composition of Susan's. The melody is a high register minor menace, sad and haunting, over a rhythm guitar-organ backtrack that supports it well. The unusual melody is quite appealing.

Comanche dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Susan and the SurfTones recreate this classic Surf Raiders tune in their own image, with distortion and bite. They retain the feel, with the tribal island drums, melody, and organ backing, but the guitar tone brings it a much more intense appeal. The more I listen to this, the better I like it. Great interpretation!

Right Turn dotdotdotdot
Big Band Rock (Instrumental)

Man oh man. Tribal drums, groovin' cool cats bass, and drivin' distortion guitar. Cozy Cole had a major Billboard hit with "Topsy Part Two" in the late fifties. His release is a splendid blend of big band and rock, and is very infectious. I've long thought it should be reinvented as a surf tune. Susan didn't exactly surf it up, but this rocking groove proves the rockability of the tune, and hints at its surfability. Very good listening. The retention of Cozy Cole's drum licks is a must, and the restraint with which they are played helps transfer the drive from drums to guitar, without undoing the power, and while enhancing the "cool" factor.

Radar dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The B-side of the Dave Clark Five's "Bits And Pieces" was a grand instro titled "Chaquita" that has long begged surf reincarnation. The Flat Duo Jets' rendering is hot and uses the pomp of "Sing Sing Sing" styled swing tunes. Susan and the SurfTones on the other hand, use suave tones, a groovin' low-key energy, and a quiet kinda thunder. This give it a very cool edge, and makes it very endearing. Susan's cries of "ooh, Chaquita" further the coolness.

Lillian dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In a nearly complete renovation, Susan and the SurfTones use different tones, different drum cadences, and even alter the melody. The use of the drums from the Routers' "Let's Go" is a change that takes this from the realm of routine covers to that of valued update.

Dance Contest dotdotdotdot
Barn Dance Rock (Instrumental)

Country chumpin' barn dancin' twango riffs and a sense of humor permeate this excellent basic RI track. Images of plaid clad two-steppers take flight from this warm track. A stereo remix. Previously unreleased.

Guitar Cha-Cha dotdotdotdot
Too Fun Rock (Instrumental)

With extra cool cow bell action, this is another variation on "My Beth" / "Studio Blues." This stereo remix brings the percussion into a particularly supportive role, while Link's guitar warmly plays with inviting distortion. It's hard to back away from this track. The track fades quickly at the end. Previously unreleased.

Rumble Mambo dotdotdotdot
Warm Melodic Rock (Instrumental)

This track is preceded by studio chatter before becoming an excellent rolling tune with a fine melody line and traveling feel. It's not at all like "Rumble." The melody is very close to the break in the Torquays' "Escondido." Released on Okey single 7166.

Comanche dotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Susan and the SurfTones tribute to the spaghetti western genre is more than a little nice. Round guitar tone, with a whistling organ underneath, and great cowboy drums are all here. This is written by Buck Malen. The big boom reverb of the toms is very dramatic and super cool. Not quite of the Hellbenders' caliber, but damn close. I like this a lot.

New Studio Blues dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Wipe Out" is a hard song to cover, for many reasons, from a tendency to try to reproduce the original Surfaris' classic, through the impossibility of replicating the fluidity of Ron Wilson's drums, to the shear volume of pedestrian covers. The ones that stand out are those that show some fresh creativity in the arrangement; those that breathe new life into the song. This one falls into the latter category. The track opens with a glissando and a guitar flourish that does not hint at the tune to come. The first verse is pretty trad, with the first drum break beginning the deviation via a double picked guitar accompaniment in addition to the accent chords. The second verse moves into a slightly jazzy interpretation of the guitar lines. The second drum break is entirely nontraditional, more of a long solo with lots of drum whackage and experimenting, accompanied by some guitar work of equal character, before dropping back to "the drum riff" we all recognize. The last guitar verse is quite stylish and very energetic. Overall, it's quite a nice change from the usual "Wipe Out."

Walkin' With Link dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Astronauts' original version of the William Dunham - Bobby Beverly tune is roundly energized here. The arrangement is true to the single, and the playing is quite good. Solid percussion, pumped bass, and fine reverb guitar. While not experimental, it is most enjoyable. It even fades at the end like the original film score.