Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Link Wray and his Raymen - Law of the Jungledotdotdotdotdot
artwork28 tracks of vintage Link Wray and his Raymen! What more do you need to know?
Picks: The Black Widow, Law Of The Jungle, Ruby Baby, Heartbreak Hotel, Big Ben, Peggy Sue, Week End, Return Of The Birdland, Please Please Me, Dinosaur, Steel Trap, My Alberta, Ace Of Spades, Honky Tonk, Scatter, Cross Ties, The Shadow Knows, Mr. Guitar, Frenchy, What Happened To The Waltz, Rumble, Run Chicken Run, Ace Of Spades

Track by Track Review


The Black Widow dotdotdot
Essential Rock (Instrumental)

This is a fine track. It lends itself to interpretation, as was demonstrated by the Nobles when they covered it. This original rendering is full and grodie. It's based on a simple progression, but it has a certain magnetism about it.

Law Of The Jungle dotdotdot
Essential Rock (Instrumental)

Thuddy guitar with organ carrying the melody line. It's quite grodie, but mostly a jam-like track.

Ruby Baby dotdotdot
Essential Rock (Instrumental)

This seems to me to be an unfinished backtrack. It is unsupported by a melody, features chorus vocals, and a guitar hook break. It doesn't quite work as is, though it certainly hints of greatness unfinished.

Heartbreak Hotel dotdotdot
Essential Rock (Instrumental)

Round smooth guitar tones fill out this instrumental Presleyism. It almost shimmers like surf, but not quite. The effect is a fifties sock hop lady's choice number, with great tinkling piano. Cool track.

Big Ben dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

No ringing bells, not British themes, just ringing chords and a very fine bass line. This sneaks up on you, being easy to dismiss in the first few bars, but at some point around the third verse, you find yourself sucked in. Fine throbbing rockin' stuff. The bass melody is really nice.

Peggy Sue dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Low-E guitar lead version of the Buddy Holly classic. Very rockabilly oriented, and pretty fun.

Week End dotdotdot
Fifties R&B (Instrumental)

A "Honky Tonk" wanna be.

Return Of The Birdland dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Plucky guitar, droney organ, thumpy drums, and a semi-surfy lead. The melody line is a funny progression, almost too happy despite it's low-E origin. A nice Dixie sorta tune. The double picked break is cool.

Please Please Me dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Including studio chatter, this instrumental treatment of the Beatles's hottest early original "Please Please Me" is fiery and very infectious. It's more than a backtrack, and sounds almost British, except for the Linkage.

Dinosaur dotdotdot
Jurassic (Instrumental)

This was a good idea, but it doesn't have the magic of other Link Wray tunes. It's low down and growly, but not quite spooky, and not large enough for the title. Still, the dark sax and lumbering pace do create a certain lizardry.

Steel Trap dotdotdot
Bouncing Rock (Instrumental)

With a guitar line that hints of Kisses Sweeter Than Wine or A Taste Of Honey, this bouncing rocker plays happily in the sandbox out back of the sock hop. A funky almost Travis Wammack meets a surf band track, not very interesting. Fun and infectious.

My Alberta dotdotdotdot
Essential Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very pretty ballad, with pristine guitar tones and a romantic feel. The span of styles that Link could play is astounding. His trademark raw guitar could transition right into gorgeous clean work like this. Great song.

Ace Of Spades dotdotdot
Essential Rock (Instrumental)

A "Rumble" inspired song that doesn't quite have the same ominousness or infectious sound. It's a bit to progression oriented for my tastes. "Ace Of Spades" appeared in Pulp Fiction. This often covered tune is slow and evil, and is essentially Deacon Jones and Fat Back combined. Groovin' R&B rumble rock. Grindy and damp.

Honky Tonk dotdotdot
Essential Rock (Instrumental)

A strait cover of this Bill Dogget classic.

Scatter dotdotdotdot
Essential Rock (Instrumental)

The intro chords to "Telstar" precede a cheesy organ number supported by a rhythmic chunka chunka guitar and a rolling rhythm track. A cool variation of the "Telstar" theme without being too derivative. Nice fodder for the surf mill.

Cross Ties dotdotdotdot
Bouncing Rock (Instrumental)

This is one moody number. The organ mourns some unseen loss while Link's reverbed guitar lightly damps out a surf rhythm at a galloping meter. This is one of those really simple tunes that makes you realize what it takes to create really effective instro rock. Haunting and powerfully distant images of sadness. The organ is so eerie, and the guitar is pure surf - damped reverb and double picked. This is a rhythmic and infectious track.

The Shadow Knows dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Opening with the classic instro lines from the old time radio show, this dark brooding Rumble like number uses big ringing chords, sustained and distorted, and a thundering tribal backtrack, with evil laughs interspersed. A very slow pained and evil number. The lumbering pace gives it more darkness, as do the rhythm sections relentless runway grind. Quite nice.

Mr. Guitar dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A fine cowboy number with a great melody and rolling drums. It brings up images of Gunsmoke on a good day. It's chunky and spunky and fun. Mr. Guitar is a rocking fifties guitar track, with pumpin' infectious drums and a spiffy little riff line. The damped mid section is way cool. damn fine party playtime music, and it even sports a few swimming whammies. This'll carry you down the road with the top down in that old Chevy Nomad.

Frenchy dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

"Alueta... " It's that song, not unusual, but odd.

What Happened To The Waltz dotdotdotdotdot
Double Picked Primal Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Super fast double picked guitar assault on Bo Diddley's namesake song under the title "What Happened To The Waltz." Talk about your chunky fast guitar rages, this is a monstrous number made available for the first time in the US on this CD. What Link would have done to a surf band is anyone's guess, but this track suggest that he would have redefined the genre. What a pummeling track!

Rumble dotdotdotdot
Classic Dark Rock (Instrumental)

The LP version of rumble employs ringing chords instead of grinding ones, and has a dominant rhythm guitar that is different than the single version. It is much less ominous and much more relentless.

Run Chicken Run dotdotdotdot
Original Chicken Bop (Instrumental)

If this isn't the first chicken scratch record, it's damn close to it. If any record defined the Planet Rockers-Los Straitjackets-Eddie Angel sound-to-be, this is it. Fast, chicken pickin' cluckery, grindy edge, and intensely hot guitar magic in a simple structure that just plain grabs you. remember, this is 35 years old.

Ace Of Spades dotdotdot
Classic Dark Rock (Instrumental)

This version of "Ace of Spades" sports harmonica growling over the Linkster's guitar. The nod to Jimmy Page/Yardbirds/Led Zeppelin in the extended ending is pretty darn cool. Pretty interesting!