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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Robert Gordon
"I'm Coming Home" (Lanark)
DC Larson

As an RG fan who first heard The Voice on 1975's "Live at CBGB's" double LP, I couldn't be happier with this disc - a strapping reaffirmation of supremacy.

Robert has for years percolated on undersung releases (like 2006 Last Call disc "Rockin the Paradiso,"  and 2007's "It's Now or Never," on Rykodisc.) For those, he was paired with longtime accompanist Chris Spedding, the world-renowned guitar master.

Here, he's backed by a new line-up, a change that only advances the freshness. Storming guitarist Quentin Jones of the Reach Around Rodeo Clowns, and Lanark impresario, is joined by drummers Dave Ferrara and David Uosikkinen (visiting from the Hooters). Marshall Crenshaw, who contributes "Walk Hard," sits in on guitar for 2 tracks. Veteran Gordon band A-lister Rob Stoner brings the bass on all but one cut (Quentin handles that one), and even picks up a guitar twice. 

Along for the crackling fun joyride are various top-drawer pedal steel, saxophone, and B3 players, as well as ace background vocalists whose presence lends further authority. (Among the ambient voices on one track is Gordon's fellow vocal legend, Rockat Dibbs Preston. Dibbs wrote 2 of the songs, here.)

But Robert is the star of this show. He can blast a lyric or swell majestically to whatever heights are demanded. Indeed, to hear his confidence-to-kill delivery and deep force-of-nature baritone, it's as if the last few decades never happened -- except that they imprinted his voice with substance gained only by good and bad living.

Something I was only beginning to understand as I stood outside a closed 1975 record store, gazing through the plate glass at newly-delivered, shrink-wrapped copies of "Live at CBGB's."       

( One quick prediction: The bouncy, fun "Little Pig" may well become Robert's new "Red Hot," demanded by audiences the world over.)

Recommended "I'm Coming Home," "Walk Hard," "Little Pig," "Mountin of Love," "Low Down Weekend," "Under Your Spell Again," "Quit This Big Old Town"

VIDEO "I'm Coming Home"

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