Robert Gordon kicked off his show with "The Way I Walk," Jack Scott's tough rockabilly strut, and "Crimson and Clover," Tommy James' paean to adolescent love. The trouble is that Gordon isn't a tough rockabilly or a tender adolescent, and he isn't convincing as either. What he is is a sincere but unadventurous revivalist. From there the musical territory was as predictable as a well-stocked jukebox. There were classic rockers like "Twenty Flight Rock," "Linda Lou" and "My Babe." There was a '60s nugget, the Yardbirds' "Heart Full of Soul" and one almost hip, Springsteen's "Fire." For an ending, to no one's surprise, there were the rhythmically frenetic rockabilly numbers, "Black Slacks" and "Red Hot."
Gordon's tight, three-piece band played all of these numbers with a straightforward economy that demanded some musical flights of fancy. But Gordon's voice was given to its usual predictable stutters and hiccups, dramatic stops and crooning basso profundo. What fireworks there were, were provided by British guitar wiz Chris Spedding, who managed some extremely economical, but expressive leads. In fact, the evening's highlight was probably when Gordon left the stage and Spedding sang two numbers with the kind of strangled passion that Gordon rarely indulges in himself. You get the feeling that the audience Gordon had in the palm of his hands Monday night at the Bayou is the same one he's had for years. If he wants it to grow, he's going to have to take some musical chances sooner or later.