Robert Gordon is the closest thing we have to the true spirit of roots rock and roll and rockabilly. Blessed with a voice that sounds as if he was born in Menphis’ Sun Studios, Gordon has been laying down some of the best '50s-inspired tunes for over three decades.
Gordon, who did some celebrated work in the past with late guitar virtuoso Link Wray, has reunited with another amazing ax-man Chris Spedding, whom Gordon worked with a couple decades back (Spedding is also famous producing the Sex Pistols' first three demos and has done session guitar work on a zillion records) and now has a powerful rhythm section with Stray Cat alum Slim Jim Phantom and original Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock.
This show was (according to a post-show comment from Matlock) the quartet's first date of a short tour. While a tour opener is usually ripe for kinks getting worked out, Gordon and company were tight and flowed seamlessly as if they has been gigging together for years.
While Gordon’s time was mostly spent covering his '50s idols (e.g. Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran), he did resurface his most celebrated tune, the original version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire.” While record company issues at the time prevented this song from becoming the hit that it should have been for Gordon (what is more proof that Gordon would have scored big with "Fire" is that The Pointer Sisters scored a Number 2 hit in the US with their cover of the song).
Gordon and Spedding have a great chemistry for recreating the '50s and early '60s sound, as Spedding is able to play in any style convincingly, as he proved during a set when Gordon was taking a break. Spedding went through a Rich Little-like guitar imitation set where he would say a guitarist (e.g. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, and George Harrison) and just rip off a few licks, changing styles effortlessly. It was also impressive how the band, minus Gordon, did as a power trio. It was during this part of the set that Matlock stole the show when he did a sharp take of the Pistols’ “God Save The Queen” (Matlock is a first rate bassist and it makes you wonder why the Pistols ever let him go in favor of an unskilled bassist in Sid Vicious). Also, Phantom did his Stray Cats legacy proud when he (still one of the last remaining drummers who stand up when they play) pulled out “Rumble in Brighton” and “Rock This Town” from the Cats' early '80s heyday.
But, the band was at full strength with Gordon at the helm as they tore through a duo of Cochran hits, “Twenty Flight Rock” and “C’mon Everybody” (also covered by Sid Vicious), Dion’s “The Wanderer,” Terry Stafford’s “Suspicion” and Gordon’s classic “Wild Wild Women” (originally done with Spedding in 1978).
Gordon has gone through many musicians over the years and made some amazing collaborations. But, with Spedding, Matlock and Phantom, it appears he finally has found a gang that is perfect for his sound.