Link Wray / Joey Welz

Rumble & Roll

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In 1970, legendary rock guitarist Link Wray was recruited by veteran rockabilly singer and lyricist Joey Welz to collaborate on an album called Listen to the Voices That Want to Be Free, which also featured Link's brothers and long-time musical partners Vernon Wray (bass, rhythm guitar) and Doug Wray (drums). The original release was credited to Joey Welz, with the Wray Brothers listed as session players, but in 2005, the material from the Listen to the Voices sessions was reissued by Welz under the title Brothers and Legends: Listen to the Voices That Want to Be Free, now credited to Joey Welz and Link Wray. In 2013, the recordings surfaced again as Rumble & Roll, with the billing changed to "Link Wray with Joey Welz." Except for some curious lo-fi synth patches pasted onto a few tracks, the music hasn't changed despite its many incarnations; for the most part, this music recalls the laid-back stomp of Wray's early-'70s work for Polydor rather than the feral guitar workouts of his classic '50s sides (even if Wray does amble through a remake of "Rumble"), and Welz's lyrics are clumsy, back-to-the-land hippie fare that doesn't quite mesh with Wray's minimal attack, except for a few tunes that recall his '50s roots and unwittingly reveal that his voice wasn't in its best shape when he recorded this set. (And the less said about the final track, a curious remix of the title tune that transforms it into a tribute to John Lennon, the better.) Rumble & Roll isn't a Link Wray album in the truest sense, and it isn't much of a Joey Welz album, either; Wray completists may want to give this a listen, but it doesn't represent one of the stellar moments of anyone who worked on these sessions, regardless of what they're calling the results.

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