Tag Archives: Link Wray

Paying It Forward

records

I am taking a break from the music related blogs to write about something I have been thinking a lot about lately.

Paying It Forward.

You hear that phrase a lot. I hope it doesn’t sound trite or overused. I do feel it is important.

I try and start out every day doing something nice for someone. It could be letting them in in traffic, holding a door open, giving someone short change at the register some money so they can complete their purchase or just helping anywhere I can. It makes me feel my day is starting off on the right foot. Many days the person that started the day bears no resemblence to the person arriving home later on. Such is the world we live in.

A few stories. Those who know me know I scour record shops and thrift stores looking for things to re-sell. I love spreading my luck to friends. Living in Detroit there are a lot of thrift stores and if you happen to walk in at the right time, before any other dealers or collectors get there, it is an amazing feeling. Like, Eureka! I have a lot of friends in the UK and here in the US looking for certain records that are either really difficult to track down or way too expensive. I enjoy spreading the luck or love or whatever you want to call it.

I have sent an original Neil Young- Tonight’s The Night LP, an original Miles Davis- On The Corner LP, a few Rolling Stones- Exile On Main St(original US flap sleeve w/postcards), a few Link Wray- S/T 1971(there is a DER blog about that LP here), Big Star LP, the first two Band LPs, Durutti Column flyers, several Spiritalized items to people all over. Maybe what I get back is “record karma”.

That explains yesterday’s haul. A short day hitting three record shops and two thrift shops. What I dug out of the thrift shops is probably worth 30 times what I paid. Then I get to give back in my own way.

 

001

Take this record, Paul Jackson- Black Octopus. Ultra rare Japanese only pressing. Also cut Direct To Disc. The cover is fantastic. The name is even better. Record is mint except for the promo sticker removal on cover. Turns out this is a $100 record. A Jazz Funk classic. Also rescued from a box of 45’s hidden under a table at a thrift store were about forty 60’s promo singles that look unplayed for the most part. This includes a few psych gems. Since I was never a Jazz/Funk/Fusion fan I will sell or trade these records and pay it forward in some way by gifting a record to an unsuspecting friend. Same with the 45’s.

Here is another story so crazy and touching I need to re-tell it. Apologies to FB friends who have heard this already.

There is a thrift store chain locally called Value World. A couple of times a year they run coupons for 50% off your entire purchase. They are available in the local free paper here and come in your junk mail. I was standing in line at one and there were two women in front of me. They were buying mens clothes. An entire outfit. I simply asked if they had a coupon. They said no. What coupon? I said here take mine. They started crying. I thought to myself it is just a coupon and I had under $5 worth of items. They had like $25 worth. Not a lot but in a thrift store it is. Not the reaction I expected. One of the women grabbed my arm and said “Thank you so much. I want to tell you something. We are buying these clothes to bury our father in. He lost so much weight while he was sick none of his clothes fit. Neither of us work and we have very little money which is why we are shopping here. That coupon means so much to us”.

This is a true story. The cashier started crying too. Then other people in line started talking to me and thanking me. The moral of the story is you never know how doing a nice thing for someone affects them. In this case it was instant.

Life is complicated enough. It can grind you right into the ground. Somehow or other to be able to come out the other side and do something nice just makes the world a better place.

Bottom line- Pay It Forward.

 

We would love other stories. Comment below.

Link Wray 1971 S/T LP Polydor 24-4064

link 1971

Link Wray’s Polydor debut from 1971 sounds kinda like The Band meets The Rolling Stones, with a healthy side of Van Morrison playing gospel blues somewhere in the Mississippi Delta.

When someone gives a description like that I would hope this would be a record people would want to hear. I had always assumed Link Wray was just the rockabilly dude who wrote Rumble. Ever since a nondescript burned CD arrived on my doorstep from an angel in Scotland by way of Jason Spaceman my life changed musically.

This LP, Polydor 24-4064, is one of those gems that needs to be introduced to all your friends who appreciate any form of rock, country, blues or psych. It ticks all those boxes and more. This record and it’s brethren Mordicai Jones and Beans & Fatback that make up Link Wray’s Three Track Shack trilogy are played with such honesty and feeling they jump right out of the grooves. Oh yeah, they get funky too.  All this recorded in a converted chicken coop. I know right?

The opening track, La De Da, is a heartfelt gospel-ish song and when you close your eyes you imagine a full band with backup singers just romping and stomping their way thru this all with giant smiles on their faces. Kinda like one of those Saturday night get togethers you read about that happened all over the south and Appalachia. People just showing up with whatever instrument they own and joining in.

Take Me Home Jesus is a flat out gospel ballad sung with such honesty and conviction you immediately believe.

Juke Box Mama. This is as funky as this record gets. Link digs even deeper for the vocals on this track. The bass sets the tone here and the rest of this song falls right into place. Juke Box Mama actually swings with that funky ass bass.

Rise And Fall Of Jimmy Stokes is 1970’s country storytelling. This however goes way beyond country storytelling. Again the bass is the pulse of this song. It paces this track along at an even keel. Not far off from Link Wray’s first rap track.There is an amazing instrumental interlude with Link’s guitar and bass dueling against one another.

Fallin’ Rain is just a flat out gorgeous ballad. Link’s voice even sounds different on this track. When the back up vocals come in your heart just melts. This whole song is played seemingly effortlessly. Just a joy.

Fire And Brimstone is a stomper. This time Link’s acoustic guitar leads you into a land below the Mason Dixon line. His vocals are more guttural. F&B just takes off and doesn’t stop. There is an instrumental mid section that does not slow the F&B down one bit. Wear comfortable shoes for this track. Your feet wont stop moving(or stomping).

Ice People is soft yet dark. Once again so convincing and wonderfully played.

God Out West rocks. God Out West rolls. It makes you believe once again. You get that signature Link Wray guitar midway through the song. Best track on the LP in my opinion. Singing Hallelujah!

I cant decide if Crowbar is country storytellin’ or a Blues song. It is a microcosm of this whole LP. It meshes so many styles it almost defies description. Wicked guitar on this song too!

Black River Swamp is a country gospel song. Beautiful in its simplicity and exquisitely played. Another song in which Link Wray’s vocals stand out like yet another instrument.

Tail Dragger has the most aggressive electric guitar on the record. Yet there is that funky bass. Link’s vocals are also at their most aggressive here. Yet another confounding track as it swings along albeit aggressively.

This record entered my life out of nowhere. Being a disciple of all things Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized I never heard Jason Spaceman name check this LP in any interview. Thank god my friend Barry in Scotland was listening and picked up on it. Now I cant imagine my life without it.

I have turned on a lot friends to this record and it’s popularity is growing with each person doing the same. I am not sure what it is. Maybe the amazing honesty and conviction within the grooves. Maybe because it was recorded in a converted chicken coop and not at Muscle Shoals or in any studio. Perhaps it is because it sounds so effortless and like everyone playing is grinning from ear to ear knowing full well they are part of something special.

90% of the LPs you see for sale are cutouts which means this record never sold many copies. Now it sells for $30 to $50 regularly on line. I don’t work for them or have any other incentive other than to spread the word but Hip O Select have these CDs in replica die cut sleeves and it is remastered. It is a gorgeous package.http://www.hip-oselect.com/scr.public.product.asp?product_id=89e7f7f7-61f5-7f0f-c102-2527b55e2713&cat_id=42029550-8DEE-4E9C-B712-5F1511256DD9

Do yourself a favor. Buy one. Could be the best $20 you ever spent on a CD.