Gary "US" Bonds - lead vocals; Mark Leimbach - guitar, vocals; Hal Selzer - bass; Joey Stann - saxophone; Dan Cipriano - saxophone; Jeff Hermanson - trumpet; Lance Hyland Stark - drums; Jim Wacker - keyboards, vocals
The second of two shows recorded at the Ritz with rock pioneer Gary "US" Bonds, this short but powerful set proves why some of the early greats are still the most enduring acts of all time. Opening with "Jolé Blon" and moving right into "Too Good for Each Other," his group never stops rockin'. One listen to this "comeback" show from Gary "US" Bonds & the Roadhouse Rockers and it becomes clear where the seeds for "the Boss" were planted.
For years during the late 1970s, it was not unusual for Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band to end one of its marathon three-hour plus performances with a blistering encore of the 1960 Bonds hit, "Quarter to Three." To many Springsteen fans who were too young at the time to have had experienced the music of the late '50s and early '60s, this exciting song had as much impact as one of the Boss' own originals.
Fast forward to 1981, when Springsteen was working on material for his follow-up to The River. Through some mutual friends, Springsteen, his guitarist/friend Steven Van Zandt (AKA "Little Steven"), and Bonds are writing and recording material for a new EMI long player that will be deemed to be a "comeback" album for the celebrated R&B vocalist. This show was recorded at New York's Ritz club, and was the long awaited return of Bonds to the contemporary music scene. Recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, it would be the first live radio broadcast he had done in decades.
Bonds was born Gary Anderson, and after moving to the Norfolk, VA as a teenager, he quickly graduated from church choirs to street corner doo-wop groups. He was discovered by an aspiring music promoter named Frank Guida, who signed the vocalist to his label, Legrand, and also took over his management.
Guida presented Anderson a song he had co-written named "New Orleans." They went in the studio and cut it with the best R&B studio musicians available there at the time, and within weeks it was a hit. When Guida handed Anderson the 45 RPM record, he noticed it did not have his name on it. It was credited to: "US Bonds."
The name came from the deli next to the studio where the track was cut. The owner was a true American patriot and decorated his store with flags, banners and posters of US Savings Bonds. From there, Guida got the idea to call his client "US Bonds." Guida actually titled the first record US Bonds because he was hoping DJs would play it thinking it was a public service announcement for savings bonds. In the end, it was not necessary; they played it because it rocked. Bonds plays a mix of material from his new EMI release (at the time) and his classics such as "New Orleans" and, of course, "Quarter To Three."