Nick Peters - keyboards; Danny Kustow - lead guitar; Brian "Dolphin" Taylor - drums, vocals; Tom Robinson - lead vocals, bass
Fans of the UK New Wave movement will enjoy this lively recorded set by the Tom Robinson Band. Recorded as part of four shows captured for broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour, Robinson and the band play tracks from their first album, including "Grey Cortina," "Right On Sister;" "Washing Machine," and the infectious radio hit "2-4-6-8 Motorway." Near the end of this mini-set, they do a smoking version of Lou Reed's "Waiting for my Man."
New York, during the summer of 1978, was a hotbed of potent punk. Artists such as Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, the Police, The Pretenders, The Clash, and the Tom Robinson Band all presented some their most memorable Big Apple performances during this period.
Tom Robinson and his band were part of the same U.K. 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 U.K. and here in the U.S., where FM radio was beginning to embrace this brave new style of music. What set Robinson aside from many of his contemporaries was his openly gay stance, which was integral to both his music and his public relations campaign.
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, "(Sing if you're) 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 settled into the life of a popular club DJ in England.