Wednesday, October 10, 2012
THE WRAY BROTHERS - NINETY NINE YEARS TO GO
Here's one you never hear about - mainly because it was released as a B-side to a country tune by Link Wray and his brothers on the tiny Infinity label in 1963. "Ninety Nine Years To Go" is a murder ballad with the sound of a chain-gang song. In fact, the record starts with the sound of a pick-axe hitting rocks. From there, one of the Wray Brothers (it's probably not Link, it's more likely Vernon Wray on lead) sings his tale of woe; he's serving 99 years for shooting his girl because he caught her with his best friend. No big deal here, but what brings this record over the top is the boyish earnestness of the vocal; he might as well be singing about bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly.
The best part (besides the ragged backing vocals) is when the singer's girlfriend, after being shot, says with her last breath, "Jimmy, I'm not mad at you!" Hmmmm. I see, she cheated on HIM, with his BEST FRIEND, but she decides to take the high road AFTER he shoots her, saying she's not mad at him. I think the point, honey, is that he's MAD at YOU.....
By the way, if you want to hear the other side of this record (a sprightly number called "You're Sweeter Than Sugar"), check it out here.
The Wray Brothers - Ninety Nine Years To Go (Infinity 033) - 1963