Nick Peters - keyboards; Danny Kustow - lead guitar; Brian "The Dolphin" - drums, vocals; Tom Robinson - lead vocals, bass
The Tom Robinson Band had recorded four shows in two days at New York's Bottom Line to be used for broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. The band was just getting adjusted to a new line-up that included Nick Peter on keyboards, replacing original member, Mark Ambler.
Buzz for the Tom Robinson Band was very strong during this period, primarily because he had received considerable press over a song he cut called "Glad To Be Gay." It was a weird paradox because Robinson and the band played punk music that most people deemed to be macho. In the end, his overt openly gay stance might have hurt him with radio programmers and the media, both of whom seemed to cool to his music after the initial LP and US tour. Most of the material at this show was featured on the first LP, Power In The Darkness, which, three decades after its release, still holds up well.
Among the highlights of the show are "Don't Take No For An Answer;" "Long Hot Summer," "Grey Cortina," and Robinson's social anthem, "Glad To Be Gay." Also amusing is the impromptu, "Broken Bass String Blues," which, of course, is self-explanatory.
Tom Robinson and his band were part of the same UK punk/new wave scene that launched the careers of The Pretenders, the Police, Elvis Costello, and Nick Lowe. With his gritty, streetwise swagger, Robinson was expected to have a big career both in his native UK and here in the US, where FM radio was beginning to embrace this brave new style of music. Although his infectious dance club rocker, "2-4-6-8 Motorway" was the song that broke Robinson in both the clubs and on the radio, it was his controversial anthem, "Glad To Be Gay" that gained him the most media exposure. While David Bowie, The New York Dolls, T Rex, Lou Reed, and other rockers that emerged in the early 70s "glam-rock" movement also heralded the feminine side of men, they were clearly androgynous, or at least, bi-sexual in their approach. Robinson was the first international music artist willing to be rock's advocate for gay rights.
For a short while, Robinson and his sexual politics were all the rage, but he soon fell out of favor with the rock media, and eventually his fans. He released a handful of albums through the mid 1980s, before becoming a musician who toured only occasionally. He eventually broke up the Tom Robinson Band and has settled into life as a popular club DJ in England.