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Robert Gordon The Lost Album, Plus...

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1-CD mit 16-seitigem Booklet, 21 Einzeltitel, Spieldauer 60:52 Minuten. Robert Gordon was... more

Robert Gordon: The Lost Album, Plus...

1-CD mit 16-seitigem Booklet, 21 Einzeltitel, Spieldauer 60:52 Minuten.

Robert Gordon was the only rockabilly revivalist to take the old music and do something new, fresh, and original with it. He let the music grow and evolve instead of keeping it stuck in 1955.

Back in 1990, we issued two volumes of Robert's RCA and Private Stock recordings. At that time, we tried to locate the missing album without success. We've since found them, and they form the cornerstone of this stellar new collection. There are 10 previously unissued songs, featuring the lead guitar of Chris Spedding und Danny Gatton

Then, to round out the set, we've included 11 tracks from 1977, 1978, and 1980 that weren't included on our first two CDs.

Titles include songs like Suspicion and Endless Sleep, plus Link Wray originals like If This Is Wrong and It's In The Bottle, plus new songs in the old style like Sweet Surrender and Movin' Too Slow.

Robert Gordon
The cat is back. He still won’t call himself a rockabilly singer, but if anyone is to carry rockabilly’s primal yawp into the next millenium, it will be Robert Gordon. Even without a regular band, his recent live shows have been like a Second Coming for anyone who cares about the shaking music. Bookers talk of a kinder, gentler Robert Gordon these days. He isn’t making them quite as nervous as the Robert Gordon of old.

Incredibly, it has now been more twenty years since Robert Gordon announced himself with mid-Fifties rockabilly music delivered with late-Seventies punk attitude. Over the course of the next few years, it looked as though Robert Gordon might indeed be the next big thing. This, you must remember, was at the time of prog rock’s grizzliest excesses and disco. How refreshing to hear songs that didn’t pretend to say anything about the human condition, and said it in less than three minutes. Then, when Robert’s original record company, Private Stock, went belly-up, he was signed by RCA, the very label that had lost the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll just a year before.

Somehow it didn’t quite happen. American radio didn’t bite, and if American radio doesn’t bite, the game’s over in commercial terms. Two singles got to #83 and #76, and that was it. Along the way, Robert Gordon attracted three stellar pickers, Link Wray, Danny Gatton, and Chris Spedding, all of whom can be heard here (Wray, incidentally, is now growing old disgracefully in Denmark, Gatton committed suicide, and Spedding is in Los Angeles, working sessions, and still making occasional tours with Robert).

The original records still sound freshly minted. For proof, consult our two previous Robert Gordon CDs (BCD 15446 and 15489). Now we’ve finally found ten unissued recordings that were thought to have been lost forever in the bowels of the RCA tape vault. To those we’ve added ten recordings and mixes that didn’t see light-of-day on our other Robert Gordon CDs, among them a menacing version of Endless Sleep and several songs by the Wray clan, including Woman (You’re My Woman), It’s In The Bottle, and the gorgeously underproduced Blue Eyes (Don’t Run Away).

Robert’s best shot came in 1978 when he released Fire. Not only was it a great song, but it was written by the artiste du jour, Bruce Springsteen. God knows why Springsteen didn’t cut it himself, but he didn’t. He gave it to Robert, and even showed up to play piano on the date. With that kind of pedigree and buzz, you’d think that Fire wouldn’t stop short of the Top 10. It didn’t disappoint; it got all the way to #2--but by the Pointer Sisters. The original single mix is here, together with the single mix of the preceding single, Frankie Ford’s Sea Cruise. In this case, ‘single mix’ means the addition of horns and chorus in an attempt to fatten up the sound for what was then the mighty God of AM radio. That was 1978. At the end of that year, Robert signed with RCA. “RCA has always been like a fantasy to me,“ Robert said at the time. “They really exposed this kind of music to the masses. It’s a sort of natural move.“ Two albums followed, but neither achieved the big breakthrough. By June 1980, it was make-or-break time. Robert went into the Record Plant with Chris Spedding and Danny Gatton and laid down twelve tracks, only two of which, Marshall Crenshaw’s Something’s Gonna Happen and Wasting My Time, were released. The rest, featuring Robert and small group. Those ten buried tracks now resurface here. While they’re stripped down and unfinished in the technical sense, they’re true to the essence of Robert Gordon’s music. Fans will have no problems recognising the Elvis/Terry Stafford hit Suspicion or Lennon-McCartney’s Run For Your Life, but the others were mostly originals gathered together by Robert and his producer, ex-Strangelove Richard Gottehrer. Gatton and Spedding probably intended to re-do their guitar parts at some point, but it’s still well worth listening for their solos on Girl Like You and So Young, So Bad.

RCA didn’t hear anything they liked in the tracks, so Gottehrer was canned and Robert was brought back to the Power Plant later that year with new producers, and the tacit understanding that this was the last shot. Another Marshall Crenshaw song, Someday Some Way, from the Power Plant sessions crept into the lower reaches of the charts. An album, ‘Are You Gonna Be The One’ briefly hit the racks, and then it was over for Robert Gordon and RCA.

By all accounts, Robert went into a tailspin. Chris Spedding departed in late 1980 to work with a band called the Necessaries. There were rumours of contraband substances, and, for a while, Robert Gordon appearances were few and far between. There were tours of Japan and a few other outings, but they weren’t well reported. Through it all, though, Spedding could usually be relied upon to make an appearance. In 1995, Robert was sidelined by a vicious mugging on Thanksgiving Day, but then a new album appeared, and Robert Gordon began making the clubs again.

Anyone who wants the Robert Gordon story is directed towards the two previous CDs. Like this, they’re wall-to-wall good stuff with that edgy, snarly sound that isn’t quite rockabilly but certainly isn’t anything else. For those too young, or those who simply want to blot out a particularly wretched period of music history, you have to remember that these recordings originally appeared during the disco era. Around the same time, prog rock was taking its long overdue last gasp and punk was coming and going. These recordings were part of a vain rearguard action on behalf of music that had melody, guts, and didn’t sound as though it had been preassembled. In the end, American radio gave it a double thumbs-down. Too retro. So what’s wrong with that?

COLIN ESCOTT
Toronto, February 1998

Article properties: Robert Gordon: The Lost Album, Plus...

Gordon, Robert - The Lost Album, Plus... CD 1
01 She's Not Mine Anymore
02 It Hurts So Much
03 Run For Your Life
04 One Day Left
05 Suspicion
06 Movin' Too Slow
07 You Girl
08 I Found You
09 Signs Of Love
10 Wasting My Time
11 Girl Like You
12 So Young So Bad
13 If This Is Wrong
14 Blue Eyes (Don't Run Away)
15 Is This The Way
16 Endless Sleep
17 Woman (You're My Woman)
18 Sweet Surrender
19 It's In The Bottle
20 Sea Cruise (single version)
21 Fire (single version)
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