David Lindley - El Rayo X
David Lindley (voc, g, b, v, lute); Jackson Browne, Jorge Calderón (voc); Garth Hudson (horns); Curt Bouterse (dulcimer); Bob Glaub, Reggie McBride (b); William 'Smitty' Smith, Billy Payne (org); Ian Wallace (dr); Ras Baboo (perc, voc, acc)
Written by David Lindley (B1, B4, B6), Bob Fuller (A1, A4, A5), Boudleaux Bryant (A2), Felice Bryant (A2), K.C. Douglas (A3), Robert Geddins (A3), Phil Medley (A6), Bert Russell (A6), Jorge Calderón (B1), King Curtis (B2), Elmo Glick (B2), O'Kelly Isley (B2), Smokey Robinson (B3), Ronald White (B3), Solomon Feldthouse (B4), Nancy Lindley (B4), Huey "Piano" Smith (B5)
1 LP, standard sleeve
Original analog Master tape : YES
Heavy Press : 180g
Record color : black
Speed : 33 RPM
Size : 12'’
Record Press : Pallas
Label : Speakers Corner
Original Label : Asylum
Recording: 1981 at Record One, Los Angeles, by Greg Ladanyi
Production: Jackson Browne and Greg Ladanyi
Originally released in 1981
Reissued in 2019
Side A :
Side B :
« By the time David Lindley made his move to a solo career, he was already a legend. Having toured and recorded with such names as Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and Crosby & Nash, his reputation as a multi-instrumentalist (on almost any stringed instrument) was awesome. Lindley scored a contract with Elektra Records and put together an excellent band that was able to keep up with his eclectic vision. Combining blues, rock & roll, Cajun, Zydeco, Middle Eastern music, and other elements, his debut album is an absolute joy. Lindley's version of "Mercury Blues" became an FM radio staple, and his slide guitar performances on this track alone are easily some of the finest of the decade. There are some wonderfully skewed originals on the record as well, making El Rayo-X one of the greatest rock music albums of its time. Fabulous. » AllMusic Review by Matthew Greenwald
« David Lindley is a legendary session musician and band leader. A distinguished multi-instrumentalist, he is widely known for his electric guitar, slide, fiddle, banjo, bass and mandolin work throughout his illustrious career. Lindley has done sessions for a wide array of performers, including Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Crosby & Nash, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon, Bob Dylan, Toto, Rod Stewart, Curtis Mayfield and Joe Walsh. He has toured with many prominent rock artists and his unforgettable falsetto on “Stay” (from the Jackson Browne Running On Empty live album) is part of rock history. But Lindley began his career as a bandleader, fronting Kaleidoscope for five years in the 60’s. In 1981, he hit a creative peak when he formed the musically eclectic band, El Rayo X. For most of the decade, he performed and recorded with this band as lead singer and main instrumentalist. He embraced a world sound that incorporated reggae, blues, rock, soul, cajun, Middle Eastern, traditional folk and various other influences. His unrelenting search for musical inspiration and different instruments has sustained his career and legacy.
Speakers Corner has released a 180-gram of Lindley’s Asylum debut, El Rayo X. Nearly four decades later, the creative musical vision of this unique musician is visceral. With a who’s who of veteran musicians backing him, Lindley brings his humor-laced template to life. Side A opens with the slightly off-kilter reggae/ska number “She Took Off My Romeos”. Written by Bob “Frizz” Fuller, the eccentric humor (“…I put on my smoking jacket, she took off my Romeos…”) reflects the essential combination of musicianship and goofiness that is David Lindley. His warbling tenor fits perfectly. Dipping into classic rock and roll, his version of The Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love” is a slowed-down funky Jamaican/Zydeco groove. The relaxed pulse, articulate guitar and vocals are impeccable. “Mercury Blues” is a blues standard by K.C. Douglas that has been covered by other rock artists (most notably Steve Miller). Lindley brings high energy vocals and big-time electric slide guitar riffs to sell this one. A second Fuller gem, “Quarter Of A Man” exudes phenomenal laid-back reggae hooks with tight percussion, bass line and a slight tempo uptick. It is infectious, with its deliberate cadence, and the absurd social commentary (within the context of being ”only a quarter of a man”) is hilarious. Keeping the “Frizz” vibe going, “Ain’t No Way” is typically unconventional with high-register vocals (including a terrific falsetto) and crisp guitar runs to surround the low-key tempo. There have been numerous versions of “Twist And Shout”, the perennial rock party song. Lindley does not disappoint as the accelerated ‘Island” arrangement features William D. “Smitty” Smith’s old-school pop organ runs and catchy backup vocals by Jackson Browne and Jorge Calderon.
Side B opens with the no-holds-barred Tex-Mex (or rather Tex-Rayo X) title cut. With a crashing downbeat, Garth Hudson’s horns and keyboards add significant texture and loopy style Lindley handles the Spanish lyrics formidably in a tantalizingly concise 2:56. Laying down serious r & b, The Isley Brothers 1961 “Your Old Lady” is nasty. Lindley’s slide work is timeless and the sly lyrics (“…your old lady is my old lady, too…”) resonates in Rayo X grooves. If you’re going to cover a well-known Temptations song like “Don’t Look Back”, why not do it in full reggae mode? The exuberant instrumentation (with a cool bridge, percussion and rhythmic guitar ) is engaging. Lindley never fails to surprise the listener. “Petit Fleur”, sung entirely in French is a delicate, traditional early 20th century cajun waltz. Lindley’s exquisite vocals and nimble fiddle carry the day. Staying in Louisiana, the “re-tooling’ of Huey “Piano” Smith’s r & b classic (retitled Tu-Ber Cu-Lucas And The Sinus Blues”) is nothing short of a New Orleans house party. Punctuated rhythm breaks are merely another facet to the broad mosaic of this album. In a collection of terrific covers, a Lindley original, “Pay The Man” steals the show. With a deft touch, the reggae-inspired walking beat is complemented by peculiar fatalism (“…everybody got to pay the man…”) and dark humor (“…Sally had a baby, it almost drove her crazy. She dropped it in the river, now Sally is a happy girl…”). A whistle or recorder injects the right amount of jauntiness to balance this weird exploration.
Speakers Corner’s 180-gram vinyl re-mastering is excellent. The assortment of exotic stringed instruments are mixed with vibrant tonality. The electric slide has limited jaggedness and blends with the other instruments. Lindley’s reedy tenor is front and center in the mix, and sounds quirky with unexpected strength.
David Lindley – El Rayo X is one of the greatest albums to emerge from the 80’s! » Robbie Gerson, Audiophile Audition, July 2021
When David Lindley commenced on his solo career with "El Rayo-X" in 1981, he had already established himself as a studio musician in numerous venues. His competent playing, which he had long cultivated in performance with Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Crosby & Nash, is concentrated here on this album like an x-ray beam. And what is more: the multi-instrumentalist worked on his early, forgotten attempts on the banjo and fiddle and took himself right up to the strings of the steel guitar.
Here are just a few examples of the many styles which are gathered here together on this album: After the off-beat reggae rhythm of "She Took Off My Romeos" follows one of the greatest guitar hits of the 80s – "Bye, Bye Love". Then comes "Mercury Blues" with its magnificently sharp and swift-paced guitar playing.
Not only the rhythmic mix but also the instrumentation follows a cleverly devised plan and is tailor-made for each number. "Quarter Of A Man", a subtle colourful dance on the bass line, is just as impressive as the pointed jabs of the well-established organ in "Ain’t No Way". All in all, this is a lavishly produced rock album of its time and well worth the listening today.
AllMusic : 4.5 / 5 , Discogs : Rate Your Music :