Robert Gordon

Rock Billy Boogie/Bad Boy

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Although the Stray Cats received most of the credit and marquee attention for the late-'70s rockabilly revival, hep cat Robert Gordon was just as responsible for its short but potent comeback. These two albums, now conveniently combined into a single 23-track CD, were the only two of his four for RCA to feature guitarist Chris Spedding, who took over Link Wray's spot after Gordon's first few releases. Producer Richard Gottehrer, who worked on all four albums, kept the sound stripped down, but added subtle backing vocalists, piano, pedal steel, and even fiddle to augment Gordon's husky Elvis-styled vocals. Bad Boy even shifts into country and blues along with its diet of '50s twang rocking. His voice is impressive throughout, but really shines on the ballads, as on RBB's take on Conway Twitty's "It's Only Make Believe," one of the many Gordon covers that give the original a run for its money, and Donnie Owens' oldie "Need You." Newly-penned liner notes for this edition provide essential and interesting information, and only the lack of any rare or live tracks prevents this from being the final word on this particular period in the singer's all too short album career. New fans might be better off with one of the many hits collections available, but for those wanting to dig deeper, this is a handy and economical way to get two of Robert Gordon's best and most fully realized discs for the price of one.

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