Robert Gordon

King Biscuit Flower Hour

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As with almost any rockabilly artist worthy of the name, the best way to appreciate Robert Gordon is working live, in front of an audience. Unfortunately, record companies have usually been reticent to record their artists in concert, owing to the industry's preference for capturing their artists in controlled circumstances, such as the recording studio. This performance, recorded live on March 30, 1979, in Philadelphia, captures Gordon in his prime, touring to promote his then new Rock Billy Boogie album, backed by British axeman Chris Spedding (successor to Link Wray in Gordon's ensemble), with high-powered drummer Bobby Chouinard and Tony Garnier on bass. The spirits of Elvis Presley ("Blue Moon of Kentucky," "Mystery Train"), Conway Twitty ("It's Only Make Believe"), and the Sparkletones ("Black Slacks") hover over the repertory, but Gordon redefines the rockabilly sound in a uniquely muscular fashion, even drawing on Bruce Springsteen for source material ("Fire")--this is rockabilly for the '70's, '80s, and beyond, powerfully nuanced and articulate, and luxuriating in the R&B attributes that were usually lost in the briskness of the genre.

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