It’s been quite the journey for 67-year-old rockabilly stalwart Robert Gordon, and with the help of some longtime friends, there’s no apparent end in sight to that wild ride. The tireless crooner released his 20th album yesterday, I’m Coming Home—his first solo studio LP since 2007’s King and I—on Lanark Records.
Gordon splashed down on the scene in the late ‘70s during a rejuvenation of the genre, his hits “Rockabilly Boogie,” “Bad Boy” and “Are You Gonna Be The One” catapulting him to a revered standing. His signature baritone bellowed loudly and with confidence, his rough-and-tumble aesthetic jibing effortlessly with fans of the Golden Age of rock-n-roll. “We were all crazy back in the day,” Gordon tells PW, recalling those timeless memories of early roots rock.
The list of artists that the occasional actor has worked with professionally over the years is impressive: Bruce Springsteen, Anton Fig, Paul Shaffer, Chris Spedding, the legendary Link Wray. “Link was one of a kind,” Gordon says of the late, great guitar god. “We were great friends. I actually saw him as a kid when I lived in Bethesda, Maryland and ended up cutting two records with him.” So, what motivates a seasoned vet of his stature to cut another record? “I’ve wanted to get back into the studio,” Gordon admits. “I’ve done tracks for various projects but not an entire album.”
Securing a record deal that would allow the singer’s timeless sound to thrive had been elusive for Gordon in recent times—that is until he rekindled a working relationship with neo-rockabilly guitar player Quentin Jones. “They approached me. I did a record for Jones, who had a little label 20 years ago.” His old colleague now runs Lanark Records in Lancaster with business partner Frank Barrett, and their imprint’s committed to churning out new records with that classic rockabilly sound.
I’m Coming Home features three brand new cuts from Gordon and company, as well as a number of cover versions of classic tunes by Buck Owens, Ricky Nelson and other notables, giving his record a variety of sounds. “I’ve always had favorite tunes I’ve wanted to cut, and these are a couple of them,” Gordon says. “I think there’s a something there for everybody.”
This week, Gordon takes the stage at the Tin Angel for a rare Philly gig to celebrate the release of I’m Coming Home, where he’ll be joined on stage by Jones on guitar, Kenny Aaronson on bass and David Uosikkinen, a founding member of Philly’s own The Hooters, on the skins. “I’ve been away for a while,” says Gordon, “and I’m looking forward to coming back. That’s for sure.”
Thurs., June 26. 8pm. $12. With Shane Dodd. Tin Angel, 20 S. Second St. 215.928.0978. tinangel.com