Robert Gordon

Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die

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Rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon's five-album career on Private Stock and RCA Victor, 1977-81, was summed up by his first best-of collection, 1982's Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die. The compilation delivers an impressive set of old chestnuts that have been covered far too many times to sound fresh, yet somehow still retain their energy. It helps that Gordon recruited top-notch players to accompany him. Besides legendary guitarist Link Wray, the album also features session aces Chris Spedding and Anton Fig, guitar prodigy Danny Gatton, and Elvis Presley's backing singers the Jordanaires. The result is that even on "Sea Cruise," an oldie that has seen more than its share of repetition, the band sounds vital and crackling with energy. On an obscurity like "The Way I Walk," Gordon outdoes himself, creating what may well be the definitive version. (The song was later used to great effect in Natural Born Killers.) Even the title track, the only original composition, fits in seamlessly. Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die is a perfect introduction to Robert Gordon's talents. (The album contains three tracks previously unreleased commercially: a version of "Black Slacks" from the promotional record Live at DJ Paradise Boston and covers of Marshall Crenshaw's "Something's Gonna Happen" and "Wasting My Time.")

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