LINK WRAY

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's most glaring omission

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In the Fall of 1966, The Deadbeats were Bob Coleman (guitar and vocals), Rick Maske (guitar and vocals), Jimmy Galvin (bass) and Wayne Jordan (drums).

The Deadbeats won a contest at WPGC (really an audition) and recorded two songs with Roy Buchanan and the bass player (I think) from The Chartbusters. Steve Wynn (the same famous casino owner in Las Vegas!) of Wayson’s Corner bingo and slot machine business was the producer. Unfortunately, these songs were never released.

However, during the audition and recording session, we met a singer/manager type named Jay Frank Davis who took an interest in us. He took us down to Accokeek Maryland to meet Vernon Wray and record another two songs. I remember the studio was a small dark basement type of place. There were two tape machines, one Ampex two track and another similar machine, perhaps a mono deck. I always wondered if this is what folks meant by “three tracks”? Basically mixing down the two tracks with additional live performance on the mono machine?

I will never forget there was a ladder from an opening above were Link Wray slowly descended. He wore black boots, very tight black pegged pants, a leopard-skin patterned shirt and he had a huge pompadour hair style and wore shades. He was so cool and we were impressed. He was very friendly.

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One of the songs was mostly mine called “I’m Sure” which was a short slow song (2:10) in the key of Em. There was a descending bass run on the guitar for the intro and ending. Link decided to have us play the lower fifth along with that line to give it a quite different twist. So in effect, he was acting as arranger of the session. The sound was definitely a “Link Wray” type of riff.

The other song was mostly by Rick Maske called “She Don’t Love Me” which was an up tempo song in the key of G. I played harmonica as an overdub (onto the mono machine mix?) that unfortunately never made it to the master version of the song. I am not sure if they decided that it was not suitable or that they and problems during the mix down to mono.

When we were finished, Vernon played a version of “Batman” from a reel of tape. I’m not sure if it was before or after its release. Also there was a slow ballad but I cannot remember the song. It reminded me of “Last Date” but I have never seen this in Link’s discography.

Also, Link played one of our guitars and commented that we were using heavy gauge strings. We did not know much about equipment and our strings had a wound G string. He laughed and told us we should look for a lighter gauge set.

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Some time after that session, they decided to release the songs on the “Gray Ant” record label. I was told that it was a joint venture between Milt Grant of the local TV dance show and Vernon Wray. The record had a green label with “She Don’t Love Me” as the A side, and “I’m Sure” as the B side. Although we had photo ops with Jay of Jay and the Americans and did a very small tour of gigs in DC and Baltimore, the record never got much airplay. In all fairness, the songs were not very strong. It is amazing, but “She Don’t Love Me” is still available on some bootleg CD of 60’s garage bands that I have seen on the Internet.

During this time we filled in for Link Wray and the Ray Men at some bar in Southern Maryland one night. Not sure what the name of the bar was, but we were very young and inexperienced but we struggled through that performance okay.

One last bit - I met Jay Frank Davis in LA in early 1975. His mother was managing an apartment building and he was working at the LA Free Press.

Thanks for your interest!



THE DEADBEATS