Robert Gordon

Are You Gonna Be the One

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Robert Gordon retains the energy and menace that he brought to his earlier rockabilly-based work, only here he aims in part for a more mature and vulnerable sound, amid the rock & roll posturing. Not that he wimps out -- there are lots of hard, solid rockabilly and country tunes here, but Gordon seems deliberately to have filled side one of the LP with such numbers as "Are You Gonna Be the One," "She's Not Mine Anymore," and "Someday, Someway," all steeped in a level of romantic angst that seems deeper than anything heard before from this artist; the effect is as intense as being in the presence of a pressure cooker that's about to blow, and some the most interesting (as well as some of the best) work of Gordon's career. Otherwise, this is a beautifully diverse album in its range of sounds, all worthwhile; in addition to his backing by the Wildcats on the rock & roll numbers, Gordon gets some superb country accompaniment from a brace of Nashville-based players and singers (who accompany him very tastefully on the ballads). Also included among the support musicians is future David Letterman-alumnus Paul Shaffer, incidentally, fresh from his work with the Blues Brothers. Among the country songs, the Dorsey Burnette co-authored "Standing on the Outside of Her Door," in particular, is one of the greatest Elvis Presley records that Elvis never recorded, and at the other extreme is "Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die," a pounding, surging original that, had it come out a decade or more later, might've been grabbed up for a movie soundtrack. And in between is "Drivin' Wheel," a T-Bone Burnett co-written number that could almost pass for a lost Carl Perkins side. The One Way CD reissue offers excellent sound and a low price.

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