LINK WRAY

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

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JACKSONVILLE 2005
Jack Rabbits

LINK WRAY LIVE AT JACK RABBITS - APRIL 29, 2005

"A great show in Jacksonville last night…I'm bathing in sonic bliss and my mind has turned to mush."


I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, and decided to drive up to Jacksonville on Friday, 4/29/05 to see Link.  This is about a 3 1/2 hour drive. 

I got to the venue at about 6:00PM.  It was in an area just south of Jacksonville called "San Marco".  This venue was more than intimate...it was downright small...about 40 ft. by 60 ft. with a small bar and pool table off to the side.  The place most likely held about 120 at full capacity and there were about 90 to 100 people there.

I spoke to a guy at the bar reading a newspaper and soon found out that he was the drummer for the opening act, a 3 piece rockabilly outfit, the 77D's.  He also informed me that the drum kit that Link's band would use, the one setup behind the opening act, was also his...I guess Link and the band travel light !!

The opening act came on at about 9:15 and played 'till about 10:20.   At about 10:40, Link, escorted by his wife Olive, and his son, Oliver, walked in the front door, proceeded to the steps at stage right and ascended.  He seemed like someone's grandfather as they assisted him to the stage (he would turn 76 the Monday after this show), but once he was on stage and plugged in it was as if he had tapped into a lifeline and was prepared to take us to school.  He asked the crowd if they were ready to rock & roll and we all screamed.  After some thunderous chords to warm the fingers up, and check the guitar, we were off !!     He opened with "Rumble" and then played "King Creole" .  I had seen him in Tampa in 2002 and he didn't sing.  This night he sang about six tunes !!  He also played "Rawhide", "Jack The Ripper", Rumble On The Docks", Batman Theme" as well as some vocal tracks including "It Was So Easy", "Home is Where The Heart Is", Springsteen's "Fire", and a great Hank Williams tune, "I Can't Help It, If I'm Still In Love With You".

He talked to the crowd a bit throughout the show and even told a quick story of how Kurt Cobain borrowed from his own "Run Chicken Run" for a Nirvana song.  Link played about an hour and twenty minutes.  It was pure sonic bliss.

After his set, He thanked the crowd and was escorted off the stage and slowly out the door by his family.  He signed a few autographs on the way out and then headed down the street to where they were parked.  I went outside and there were maybe 7 or 8 people following him. He got to the minivan and sat down in the seat at the sliding door to take a break.  His family was very attentive and some folks approched.  His wife was happy to accept any items for Link to sign. She would hand it to Link, he would sign it and then hand it back.  He was resting in the van, but still was happy to sign things.   I spoke briefly with his son Oliver and thanked them for returning to Florida.  He was suprised I drove up from Tampa and was happy when I said I would also be at Sunday's show in Tampa.

It was about 12:30, and having a 3.5 hour drive home I decided to leave.   It was a great show...some instrumentals, some vocal tracks, a solo electric version of "Home Is Where The Heart Is" and just seeing Link up there enjoying himself filled my mind on the drive home and made the time pass very quickly.

If you have the opportunity to see Link Wray live, do not hesitate, he will not disappoint you !!    

I had tickets for the Tampa show on Sunday, 5/1/05 as well, but it was cancelled that evening.  Link's Florida run was 4 straight nights in a row and I'd imagine he was tired by Sunday.  Nonetheless, I met the webmaster, Greg, at the Tampa show and we had a nice chat prior to the show being cancelled.

Anyway, after seven decades (1940's - 2000's) this man still picks, growls, shreds, and lays down such an incredible groove, that he is NOT to be missed live. You may have the records, but go see him live and feed of this man's energy !!!  I., for one, will never miss an opportunity to see him live !!!

Eric Baxter

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A great show in Jacksonville last night. I'm bathing in sonic bliss and my mind has turned to mush.
Link Wray - Jacksonville FL 2005