Robert Gordon - vocals; Chris Spedding - guitars, vocals; Tony Garnier - bass; Bobby Chouinard - drums
Robert Gordon showed up on the music scene in 1977 with a six-inch high, jet black pompadour hairdo and a clear, rich baritone voice, the latter of which he used to sing some of the best rockabilly, classic rock 'n' roll and R&B that'd been heard in years. He had guitar icon Link Wray, a 1950s rockabilly pioneer, along with on tour, thus lending a certain credibility to his project. Wray would eventually leave Gordon's group to resume his solo career, and would be replaced by ace British axeman Chris Spedding, who appears on these recordings. Gordon and his 1977 debut, Robert Gordon with Link Wray, on the now defunct Private Stock label, was arguably as good as any LP from the many legendary rock 'n' roll records that it so carefully paid tribute to.
This raw and compelling King Biscuit Flower Hour recording was cut at Philadelphia's Tower Theater in 1979, while Gordon was on tour to promote his RCA Records debut, Rock Billy Boogie. Like Elvis, his record deal on a smaller label had been bought out by the mighty RCA label, and his band at this time included the aforementioned Chris Spedding (known for his work with the riff rock band Sharks), bassist Tony Garnier (from Asleep at the Wheel) and drummer Bobby Chouinard, who later became a long time member of Billy Squier's band.
"That band is incredible," said Gordon in 1997 when the recording was issued on King Biscuit Flower Hour Records. "I kept them together for 15 years, and I am certain we will work again in the future." This KBFH is not only one of the best live recordings ever captured of Gordon, it is also a tribute to Presley - clearly the king of rock 'n' roll in Gordon's eyes - and one of the many great acts of the rockabilly era. In this show, he covers Presley standards like "Blue Moon Of Kentucky," "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" and "Mystery Train."
Gordon was reaching his creative peak at the time this show was taped, and skillfully bounces back and forth between rockabilly classics, early rock gems and sultry R&B tunes. Kicking things off with Dorsey Burnette's "Rock Billy Boogie," Gordon quickly plows into "Blue Moon Of Kentucky," originally an old time bluegrass hit for Bill Monroe in the 1940s that a 21-year-old Elvis electrified on his Sun Records debut in 1955. The majority of his material during this period were covers, though Gordon always had an uncanny ability to remove songs from their original historical context and presented them in a new aesthetic light.
In this live show, he also nails the Conway Twitty classic "It's Only Make Believe" with a version almost as powerful as the original. "Black Slacks," a tune originally cut by the Sparkle Tones, is brought back to life on this recording by a combination of Gordon's powerful baritone and Spedding's razor sharp guitar licks. This recording features a mix of '50s classics, Elvis tunes and more contemporary pop, such as his version of "Fire," which was written specifically for him by Bruce Springsteen. Gordon had recorded the original version on his second Private Stock studio album in 1978, several years before The Pointer Sisters had a Top 10 covering it.
The show closes (excepting the encores) with two of Gordon's biggest hits, "Flying Saucers Rock 'N' Roll" and "Red Hot." On this version of "Red Hot," Gordon's signature yowl - "…My gal is red hot…your gal ain't doodily squat, yeah!..." - proves that he could rock with the best of them, and deliver some ferocious rock 'n' roll.