The Upshot: More rekkird reviews than you can shake a goddam King Crimson fan club membership card at!
BY FRED MILLS
Last year, longtime BLURT contributor Keith Gordon—sorry, I mean the REVEREND Keith A. Gordon; let us not forget the holy sacrament that is rock journalism, and the people who administer it—published the second installment in his rock scribe archives, Rollin’ ‘n’ Tumblin’: Blues Music Reviews, which collected sundry commentary he has accumulated over the course of his lengthy career (including, full disclosure, material he originally penned for this very magazine and website). As our reviewer succinctly put it, “More of a reference work than a tome designed to be read cover to cover, Rollin’ ‘n’ Tumblin’ is a useful consumer guide to the world of currently-available blues (and blues-informed) music.”
You can also read an interview I conducted with the Rev. last year in which he discussed the book, his publishing house Excitable Press, advice to potential authors, and more. But to bring things into the present, we’ve got his third archives-clearing compilation, Let It Rock!, which extends his purview from over the past decade or so well beyond the blues to include punk, prog, Americana, classic rock, and records that are otherwise not easily pigeonholed.
As with its predecessor, Let It Rock! zips, zings, and zooms across the rock/blues/Americana CD and DVD milieu—one can only hope that Gordon will exclusively devote a future installment to the latterday vinyl revival, as he is the type of music journalist to have a distinctive perspective—and as is always the case with record review anthologies, your attention and enthusiasm will ebb and flow depending on which artifact your thumb winds up paging to. Are you more into underground heroes of yesteryear, such as The Godz, Uriah Heep, Blue Cheer, and, er, Goose Creek Symphony? (Full disclosure: the latter proto-Americana act was a huge fave of mine in the ‘70s.) Or perhaps more contemporary maestros of skronk, ‘n’ roll are your thing—like Clutch, Black Keys, Bigelf, and the Jim Jones Revue? (More full disclosure: Gordon and I bonded many, many aeons ago over Jim Jones, and if you recognize the UK rocker’s name from his early tenure in Thee Hypnotics, consider yourself officially baptized.)
Bottom line: There’s something here for all of us, kids, ‘cos when the Rev. sets up his tent to preach the gospel, it’s a big goddam tent he pitches. Apologies for the cursing; but this is, after all, the devil’s music.
Incidentally, there’s a nice music book section that, considering yours truly’s own obsessive passion for collecting the printed word where it comes to rock history, is absolutely essential if you need some tips for stuffing your den’s bookshelf. Included are takes on respected UK journalist Barney Hoskyns’ Waiting For the Sun, garage-punk legend (and frontman for New Bomb Turks) Eric Davidson’s We Never Learn, and the Suzy Shaw/Mike Stax tribute to Shaw’s late ex-husband Greg, Bomp 2: Born In the Garage.
Fitting that Rev. Keith would wrap up with a look at the wild, weird, wooly world of rock journalism—can I get a “Boy howdy!” to that, fellow punters and parishioners? Waitaminnit, hold that thought: the postman just rang the front door bell (twice, but who’s counting…), and there’s some kind of book parcel in the pile of packages… hmmm… it says “Fossils”… what could this possibly be….