Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Robert Gordon - Fresh Fish Special

It wasn't Robert Gordon's fault that he came along twenty years too late. And five years too early. Robert wanted to be Elvis. Not Fat Elvis, either, but the Hillbilly Cat who made all the little girls scream in 1956. But Elvis had already come and gone by the time Robert recorded his 1977 debut album. Sha Na Na had led a dubious rockabilly revival in the late '60s, and The Stray Cats spearheaded their own belated and immeasurably more popular revival in the early- and mid-'80s. Stuck in the middle was Robert Gordon, who was the best of the bunch. Robert hooked up with old Link Wray, who had played guitar with the original rockabillies back in the day, and who had made his own indelible mark on rock 'n roll history in 1958 with his scintillating guitar instrumental "Rumble." Link had the guitar hooks and Robert had the six-inch-high pompadour and the snarl, and off they went.

1978 was a weird musical year. Punk had arrived, but not really. The Sex Pistols and The Clash were still rumors to most people in the U.S. The pop charts were dominated by the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Abba, the Johns -- Elton and Olivia Newton -- and schlockmeisters like Debbie Boone and The Commodores. But Robert Gordon detonated this little number in the midst of it. He made me glad to be alive.


Duke said...

Red cadillac and a black moustache!!!

Michael N. said...

I'd say The Sex Pistols and The Clash are still rumors to most people in the U.S. and the pop charts are still dominated by schlock. Nothing's changed.

The punk movement was created by and for people under the radar and, despite blurps of influences on groups like The Pixies, Nirvana and Rancid, it's remained there since 1976. Every punk group corporate America tried to assimilate either sold out (Devo) or changed into something else (Talking Heads), resulting in a homogenized, bland product called '80s New Wave.