Rock Billy Boogie

by: Robert Gordon

Robert Gordon's first album without Link Wray showed no diminution of his appeal -- indeed, lead guitarist Chris Spedding's somewhat more polished approach to licks first explored 20 some years earlier by Scotty Moore or Cliff Gallup (of Gene Vincent's Blue Caps) come off well in the studio, and fit in with the somewhat more polished sound this album aimed at. The presence of a few slow ballads like "Wheel of Fortune," some with surprisingly restrained string accompaniment, put this on the sophisticated side of rockabilly, which doesn't mean that it's not exciting -- just that, in the musical timewarp of his work, some of Gordon's impulses had advanced to the place that Buddy Holly or Elvis Presley had gotten to around the middle of 1958. Rock Billy Boogie is mostly kicking rock & roll with a killer beat ("Rock Billy Boogie," "Am I Blue") and welcome rescue job on one classic ("Black Slacks"), spiced with a few slowies and one country ballad (Johnny Burnette's "Walk on By" revived), plus one superb original ("I Just Met a Memory"), and there's not a bad song, or even a less-than-first-rate performance anywhere on it. If Elvis Presley had lived long enough to hear this record or discover Robert Gordon, one suspects he'd have loved them both. The One Way reissue on CD offers good sound and reprints the essential credits from the original LP. ~ Bruce Eder

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