Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
In the early 60s, Robert Gordon landed the lead role in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School production of "West Side Story."
Almost 15 years later, he's back in the lead, this time in his new role as leader of his own band, which played to a sold-out house at the Bayou Tuesday night.
Admittedly, the fact that this was a hometown boy making good in the company of a hometown legend, guitarist Link Wray helped draw a lot of Chevy Chase residents to the K Street waterfront. In fact, some of the hardiest applause may have come from the headliner's parents, Samuel and Arlene Gordon.
Robert Gordon is making waves in the rock marketplace. His music is part rock, part rockabilly and all based on his playing with the intensity and conviction that was in fashion in the late '50s.
Gordon's heros are Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins and, of course, Link Wray, whom he first heard at Glen Echo Park in 1961. The obvious difference in age melts away under similarly styled pompadours. At times it's hard to believe that Wray is of an earlier generation.
Gordon, who likes to dress in black and who once acted in a punk band called Tuff Darts, appears streetwise, love-smart and work-weary. Like the best rock singers he projects the immediacy of each individual lyric.
Wray, the original raunch guitarist, hasn't changed, much less evolved, in two decades. His reading of his two classics, "Rawhide" and "Rumble," were only glancingly tangential to the '70s.
But it's Gordon's show for now, and his parents see it as a stepping stone beyong the current success.
"As long as he's enjoying it, and this is what he wants to do, it's fine," says Samuel Gordon, an administrative law judge with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "It's something he's wanted to do for a long time." How like a father.
"This is the music that I've always loved," says Robert Gordon. "I'm not trying to revive anything. If it does that, it's terrific." How like a rock star.