Raven reissued Robert Gordon's first two albums, With Link Wray and Fresh Fish Special, on a single CD in 1997, adding nine bonus tracks -- "Rock Billy Boogie," "Black Slacks," "Love My Baby," "All by Myself," "Nervous," "Sweet Love on My Mind," "Drivin' Wheel," "Someday, Someway," and "Fire" -- to the original albums. Arguably, these records capture Gordon at his best, and this is an ideal purchase for serious fans. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
ROBERT GORDON WITH LINK WRAY/FRESH FISH SPECIALS was originally released as 2 seperate LPs. The single compact disc contains 9 additional tracks that did not appear on the original albums.
Personnel includes: Robert Gordon, Link Wray, Chris Spedding, Danny Gatton.
Personnel: Link Wray (guitar); Robert Gordon (vocals); Billy Cross, Charlie Messing (guitar); Richard Gottehrer (piano); Howie Wyeth (drums).
Liner Note Author: Richard Robinson.
Recording information: Plaza Sound Studio, NYC (04/1977).
Photographer: Benno Friedman.
Lester Bangs once described Robert Gordon as looking as if he belonged in a natural history museum identified as "Bopcatus Americanus," and while his first album wasn't the one that inspired the comment, the vintage duds and greased-up pompadour he sports on the front cover would have done any pop culture archeologist proud. While Gordon first hit the New York City rock scene as a proto-punk with Tuff Darts, when he struck out on his own in 1977 he was one of America's first rockabilly revivalists, covering the likes of Eddie Cochran, Billy Lee Riley, and Carl Perkins as if he was waiting for Sam Phillips to stop by and discover him. For this album, Gordon paired up with legendary guitarist Link Wray, and the result was a solid and evocative tribute to first-era rock & roll, though with a few details turned around. Wray was never really a rockabilly player, and while he brings plenty of fire and gritty presence to these sessions, the "Rumble" man sometimes seems to be holding back uncomfortably on the quieter songs, waiting for the opportunity to offer the full-bore blast that was his stock in trade (and he delivers it on cuts like "Flyin' Saucers Rock & Roll"). The rest of Gordon's band often sounds more utilitarian than inspired, but they also don't overplay, and rock these tunes with clean power. And while Gordon doesn't bring much of a personality of his own to this material (the originals were written by Wray, not Gordon), there's no arguing that he had great pipes and sings these songs with the conviction of a true believer. It would be a few years before the great rockabilly awakening would truly happen in America, but Robert Gordon was one hepcat who already believed in the Big Beat in 1977, and his first album was filled with inspired moments. ~ Mark Deming