Cleveland '78

Robert Gordon / Link Wray

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Cleveland '78 Review

by Mark Deming

While Robert Gordon first made a name for himself in the early days of the New York punk rock scene as a member of the band Tuff Darts, his real love was for the first-generation rock & roll artists of the '50s. When Gordon went solo in 1977, he teamed up with one of rock's first guitar heroes, Link Wray, whose savage instrumental "Rumble" was a hit in 1958. Gordon and Wray cut two albums together, and they were touring in support of the second, Fresh Fish Special, when they played the concert in Cleveland documented on this album. Cleveland '78 shows that while Gordon and Wray worked well together in the studio, they were a more powerful combination on-stage: Gordon's vocals are less mannered and more intense, and Wray's guitar work is fiery, letting loose with frantic solos that confirmed his status as one of the most dangerous instrumentalists alive. If the audio is less than perfect, Cleveland '78 captures Robert Gordon and Link Wray on a night where they were firing on all cylinders, and fans of either artist should certainly give it a spin.

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