Rock Billy Boogie
Released: March 1979
Chart Peak: #106
Weeks Charted: 12
Just dig the cover photo on this album, where Robert Gordon makes with the spazz-splits, Elvis lip curl and mike-stand english afront a purple curtain with keyboards and drums and guitars and musical notes and dice even, all over it. No, this isn't a picture of the inside of the glass case in the New York Museum of Natural History labeled Bopcat Americana. This is Gordon being way out and frantic in frieze, Frieze, Bob, frieze.
There are twelve songs on Rock Billy Boogie. Ten of them are old, and two of them involve Gordon and some friends borrowing clichés from other old times so as to pay tribute. Gordon's quite a tributeer, in fact. What he isn't is a real rock & roll singer. Because if he were, he'd take a chance once in a while. It's really a marriage made in heaven, he and ace transatlantic guitarist Chris Spedding, another prize hot dog who can play just about anything demanded in any style and has a soul that's all varnish.
One burning question does remain, however. Will they show him only from the waist up on The Merv Griffin Show?
- Lester Bangs, Rolling Stone, 6/28/79.
Musically this is as fine a collection of rockabilly as could be put together. Gordon's vocals occasionally lack passion but then he's not a teenager any more. His voice is otherwise perfect for the genre conjuring up Elvis and Gene Vincent as well. Chris Spedding, Rob Stoner, Howie Wyeth and Scotty Turner supply impeccable instrumentals. Best cuts: "Wheel Of Fortune," "Rock Billy Boogie," "Black Slacks."
- Billboard, 1979.
Gordon's nouveau rockabilly has always been a mite slick and a mite fast, and this is his best album because he's no longer hiding it -- his blown notes are just blown notes, not stigmata of authenticity. Credit Chris Spedding's unnaturally adaptable guitar, which drives the music more aptly than Link Wray's raw protohippie licks, authentic though they may have been. I mean, half the time Gordon actually sounds as though he belongs there. Blows some notes, though. B
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
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