This terrific album comes from a cassette of a live show of Gordon’s in the early ’80s. The rockabilly/roots rock singer had just hired Gatton several shows earlier, and man does he cook. The tape apparently circulated for some time as a bootleg and picked up the title The Humbler because any guitarist listening would indeed be humbled.
From cut one, “Ubangi Stomp,” all the way to an extra cut called “Finger On Fire,” it’s ridiculous how well Gatton plays. If you play in a band that does tunes from the ’50s and straight rockabilly, and you need to liven up your playing, just steal the solos and fills from this one.
There’s plain, old-fashioned rock licks and monster runs. “Black Slacks” has a killer rockabilly solo that melts into a jazz run, and finally ends with the solo from “Rock Around the Clock.” “Cruisin'” has some very cool open-string hammer-ons and pull-offs, followed by a very cool chord solo. “There Stands the Glass” shows ya all you’ll ever need to know about pedal-steel bends, volume swells, and the use of delay. You get the idea. Get this CD.
Although the quality isn’t always the best, it’s yet another example of why the late guitarist was one of the best, if most unheralded, players of the ’80s and early ’90s. Oh yeah, Gordon sounds good, too, as does the rest of the band, including the wonderful Tony Garnier on bass.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s May ’97 issue.