Pianist/singer/songwriter Rosco Gordon is one of those figures in Blues and Rhythm & Blues history that has fallen through the cracks of history. In the 1950s - from whence came these tracks - Gordon’s songs were a mix of earthy Memphis blues, churning, spicy New Orleans R&B, touches of jazz and the refined balladry of Billy Eckstine and Brook Benton, and many of his uptempo tunes had a light, bouncy beat that was a major influence on Jamaican ska and blue beat. He was one of the "missing links" between rough-hewn, down-home sounds and nattily dressed, suave uptown sounds, between one era and the next. In this sense, Rosco Gordon belongs to the same continuum as Charles Brown, Louis Jordan and Louis Prima, that generation of hepcats who midwifed a bastard music, scoffed at by critics but valued by many listeners in those transitional years 1945-1958 as good-time music they could relate to.
Rosco Gordon’s voice is smooth like Brook Benton and Lloyd Price, but can get effectively raspy - "Let Them Try" is adolescent romantic angst, starting off like The Platters but ending passionately akin to Solomon Burke and Van Morrison at their soulful peaks. He has an easy-going style not unlike Louis Jordan - he can show you a good time because he doesn’t take himself too seriously - there’s no machismo melodrama here. But what there you get is lots of rich King Curtis/David "Fathead" Newman tenor sax honking and sly guitar licks that’re blues in content but executed with jazz style. The Very Best Of Rosco Gordon is recommended for Blues/R&B/roots-music fans who find great joy in those rare areas where blues, jazz & pop overlap.