Monday, July 20, 2015

Link Wray's 3-Track Shack sessions from early 70s reissued by Ace using original tapes

Ace UK's fab new two-disc set Link Wray's 3-Track Shack is due August 31. Read all about it.

As the 60s came to a close, Link Wray, his brother Vernon Wray and band decamped to his farm in Accokeek, Maryland where Vernon set up a three-track recorder in an outhouse – the eponymous three-track shack. Three albums resulted from the recording sessions: 1971’s “Link Wray” was originally mooted for release on the Apple label but eventually came out on Polydor, as did “Mordicai Jones” a pseudonymous title that featured pianist Bobby Howard on vocals. “Beans and Fatback” was released by UK Virgin in 1973.

The music was radically different to what Link had previously recorded – raw and basic, but with vocals and acoustic instruments. Many Swan-era fans hoping for yet more rockin' instros for which Link had become famous didn’t quite know what to make of the rootsy detour into gospel, blues and back-porch country. Consequently, sales weren't great at the time which resulted in all three LPs becoming sought-after collectibles that seemed to foreshadow the Americana scare of the early 90s. In recent years, Mark Lanegan covered the song Fire and Brimstone (from 71's Link Wray album) for Nick Cave's Lawless soundtrack of 2012 while Calexico revised the song Fallin' Rain for a bonus track accompanying the European release of 2003's Feast Of Wire album on City Slang.

These three albums have previously been reissued by Acadia/Evangeline via Universal as a 2 CD set dubbed from vinyl sources and the Beans and Fatback closer "Take My Hand (Precious Lord)" was oddly replaced by a cover of Tony Joe White's Backwoods Preacher Man off 1974's Link Wray's Rumble album. For the new Link Wray's 3-Track Shack compendium, Ace has corrected the track listing and returned to the original master tapes for all three albums to present these unjustly overlooked classics in the finest sound possible. Time to find out what you've been missing.

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