Link Wray’s Duane Allman Tribute 45

This past January, guitarists Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes announced they would no longer perform with the Allman Brothers after this year.  Last week the Allman Brothers Band, as we know it, played their last run of shows ever at NYC’s Beacon Theatre – six in all, with the final one on October 28.  As Alan Paul reported in the October 29th edition of Billboard:

“The first two nights (Oct. 21 and 22) at the Beacon were solid but unspectacular. Then, on Oct. 24, two Gibson Les Pauls that belonged to Duane Allman, the band’s late leader, arrived from the Rock and Roll of Fame and animated the band, which played its best show in five years.  Trucks and Haynes’ playing took on more urgency, and Gregg sang with power and passion throughout the night.  The burst of energy was testament to the remarkable influence Duane exerts on the act he founded, even 43 years after his death in a motorcycle accident in 1971.”

I stumbled upon Link Wray’s sly and heartfelt tribute to Duane Allman – “I Got to Ramble” – in the 45Cat database, a track from 1974’s The Link Wray Rumble album.  Link is no doubt trading off the linguistic tango – “Rumble” (his big 1959 outlaw hit) vs. “Ramble” (Allman Brothers’ 1973 radio staple, “Ramblin’ Man”) – to great effect.  But it’s a funny moment later when you hear the twin lead guitars playing in tight harmony, combined with the “Ramblin’ Man” concept — wait a minute, this is a tribute to Dickey Betts, not Duane!

Polydor did not release many singles during Wray’s tenure with the label in the 1970s, but for Link’s first 45 – “Fire and Brimstone” b/w “Juke Box Mama” (released in Australia, as well as the UK & US) Polydor did something different for the US market, in that they issued a promo 45 with a different A-side, “Fallin’ Rain” (paired with the same B-side, “Juke Box Mama”) the following year for some reason.  Polydor would then issue one more single in the UK – “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” b/w “Shine the Light” (produced by Thomas Jefferson Kaye) – plus two final promo 7-inch releases for the US market, “Shine the Light” and Duane Allman tribute, “I Got to Ramble” in 1974.  This would appear to be the extent of Link Wray’s Polydor singles discography (while also rectifying a misstatement in my previous Link Wray piece that Wray’s years with Polydor “yielded no singles”).

Link Wray Polydor 45Only the catalog record for the Netherlands release of 1974’s The Link Wray Rumble, curiously enough, supplied information about the location of this album’s recording:  “Recorded at Wally Heider Recording & Funky Features, San Francisco, February 1974.”