Continuing their recent stream of vinyl releases, Bear Family Records has assembled a 10-Inch compilation comprising the Rockabilly recordings of Curtis Gordon. Known as a Country artist, Gordon branched into the new genre of Rock ‘n’ Roll around 1956, producing material still celebrated today by ardent fans. This reviewer can admit to not being aware of this artist before dropping the stylus; Is it worth picking up?
The release comes pressed on shiny black 10-inch vinyl, featuring a nicely designed vintage-style label. Playing at 45rpm, the album starts with the clean version of Draggin’, a ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ type number that might sound conventional, but it sticks in the mind for a while. This is the case for most of side A, which sees Gordon joined by a host of all-star musicians including Chet Atkins, Hank Garland, and Floyd Cramer; Simple but effective lyrics, melodies, and licks create a lively atmosphere. Gordon’s (at the time) unissued Rock, Roll, Jump and Jive, for example, feels like an overlooked standard.
Curtis shows his Country credentials on the heartbreaking versions of So Tired Of Crying, Blue Lifetime and Bobby Bare’s Baby Please Come Home. A mention should also go to the oldest recording in this collection, Blue Lifetime, which is soaked in classic country tradition. The album ends with the strange echo-laden version of Draggin’, finishing where it started.
A Little Something Extra…
Inside a neatly designed sleeve is a booklet containing a detailed biography, session information alongside rare photographs and illustrations. As usual, the attention to detail is superb and serves as a great introduction to this artist. The package also includes a nicely printed postcard image of Curtis Gordon.
The album contains material originally released on Mercury and Dollie Records. The high reputation of these labels possibly explains the excellent quality of the transfers. The sound could also be attributed to the top production work of Owen Bradley and Pappy Daily, both legends in their own right. Hearing these recordings on vinyl gives it a certain charm and brings the listener close to the intended experience.
Bear Family Records have assembled a Curtis Gordon compilation that brings together his rockabilly recordings while providing some insight into his versatility as an artist. Hearing recordings on a format close to their original destination is always a joy and continues to be so here. This vinyl is a must for collectors. For a more comprehensive collection of Curtis Gordon recordings, I can recommend the Play The Music Louder compilation from Bear Family Records.
- Draggin’ (Without Echo)
- Rock, Roll, Jump And Jive
- Mobile, Alabama
- Cry, Cry
- Oh Lonely Heart
- From Memphis To New Orleans
- Sittin’ On Top
- So Tired Of Crying
- Baby Please Come Home
- Blue Lifetime
- Draggin’ (With Echo)