Collecting a singer's major label output isn't a challenge. Depending on the particular label's promotion, releases can practically fall into your lap.
But it's the dogged fan (call us obsessive, if you must be unkind), we who prowl thrift store bins and off-the-main-drag online spots, who value most an artist's toil and who, sometimes, are rewarded beyond expectation.
And so it is here, in the case of roots singer nonpareil Robert Gordon. Anyone can find the crucial, rockin' vinyl he put out on RCA, back in the day. But new this 500-copy, 2-disc set offers gems no less precious.
And it hips listeners that the Robert Gordon of today sounds even better than the RCA-era one. (We always knew he was an gifted singer of tremendous range. Now we know that he always will be. The commanding baritone of earlier days resounds as powerfully. But, with the passing of years, experience and maturity have lent bold character.
Some time back, there was talk of Robert doing some European recording with old friend and colleague Chris Spedding, drummer Todd Glass, and drummer Lesse Sirkko. As there are no personnel listings here, I can't confirm that these gentlemen appear here - though I recognize Mr. Spedding's masterful fretboard navigations.
The mood on Disc 1 is light, casual. And that bouyancy finds manifestation in the rollicking, good-time sounds.
Disc 2 is a 1978 live gig. It was recorded some two weeks after Robert and legendarily ferocious six-stringer Link Wray had completed their second LP for Private Stock, "Fresh Fish Special."
Incredibly, this taped gig sat forgotten until recently. Robert and Link are abetted with relish and joyful abandon by an uncredited crack rhythm section. Given the date, I'd wager bassman Rob Stoner was on hand. Perhaps also drummer Howie Wyeth.
Captured on these 24 1978 tracks is the sort of barnburning rock 'n' roll kicked up by men who love it.
In fact, that last would also do as a description of the recent studio tracks on Disc 1. While they are for the main more mid-tempo than flat-out screamer, they are no less charging and vibrant. Heartening, in fact, in that they underscore the truth that worth can endure time's inexorable march.
It pays to be obsessive!
Recommended "Believe What You Say," "Hot Rod," "Knock Three Times," "You Don't Know What You've Got (Until You Lose It)," "Don't Let Go" - Disc 1
FORMER staff writer for Rockabilly and Pin Up America magazines.
FREELANCE credits include Counterpunch, Daily Caller, Huffington Post, Dissident Voice, Independent Political Report, USA Today, Des Moines Register, Iowa City Press-Citizen, Waterloo Courier, Cedar Falls Times, Marshalltown Times Republican, Cincinnati.com, IndyStar, Arizona Republic, No Depression, Goldmine, Blue Suede News, Rock and Rap Confidential, Crackerjack, Blues News, Rebel Frequencies, Wrecking Pit, Punk Globe, Rock and Roll Purgatory, Prairie Sun, Music and Sound Output, BAM. Fanzines Shake, Rattle, and Roll, Rebel Rouser, and Off the Wall.
AUTHOR: Shake, Rattle and Rocket!, Ghost Saucers in the Sky!, Stratosphere Boogieman!, Flesh Made Music. CONTRIBUTED essay on brother, guitarist Rick Larson, to anthology.
WORKED as 2004 Iowa coordinator for Ralph Nader independent presidential campaign; co-founded Iowa Green Party, also serving as statewide media coordinator; co-founded Black Hawk County, IA GP, serving twice as chair; press coordinator, 2002 Jay Robinson (Green) IA gubernatorial effort; also active on rights issues.