Gary US Bonds: From a Buick 6 (1981)

 |   |  1 min read

Gary US Bonds: From a Buick 6 (1981)

Because he was just a great rock'n'soul, one-off belter in that dead air between Elvis-in-the-army and the Beatles-on-Ed Sullivan, there was no reason to think Gary Bonds would have had any second life in rock'n'roll.

He was, for many, just a space-filler in history with minor hits like the exceptional Quarter to Three in '61 and . . . . Well, that was it, really.

But like so many artists we drag From the Vaults, there was more to him than just that flickering moment under the spotlight. Bonds delivered energy and commitment, and even if he did end up working mundane clubs through the Sixties and Seventies, he was not forgotten. Certainly not by Bruce Springsteen and garage-punk-soul aficionado Steven Van Zandt who grew up on rock'n'soul music like Quarter to Three.

Sometimes just that one hit is enough for someone to imprint thmselves into your teenage memory forever.

So when Springtsen hit big he helped resurrect the career of Bonds with the album Dedication, and on it Gary knocked out this white-knuckle version of Bob Dylan's From a Buick 6 which, when you think about its methamphetamine origins in 1965, should have meant nothing to a guy now reduced to playing Jersey shore clubs and singing his sole hit.

But Bonds finds the pounding, noisy rock'n'roll nub of it, right from the opening words "I got this . . . ." which echoes Chuck Berry's You Can't Catch Me and by extension Lennon's Come Together.

What Gary US Bonds reminds us of in this revision/version of electro-folk Dylan was that right in the middle of this song was fiery rock'n'roll heart beamed in from the late Fifties, that place where Gary and Bob came of age.

It is like two hands reaching across generations, not shaking . . . . but fist-punching.


This Gary US Bonds track is lifted from the exceptional collection How Many Roads; Black America Sings Bob Dylan which also features the likes of the Staples Singers, Nina Simone, Solomon Burke, Booker T, Esther Phillips and many other black artists taking on and redefining Bob.

And winning. 

For more on-offs or songs with an interesting back-story see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Bill Haley and His Comets: Oriental Rock (1958)

Bill Haley and His Comets: Oriental Rock (1958)

There are a few views of rock'n'roll pioneer Bill Haley whose Rock Around the Clock provided the revolutionary soundtrack to the '55 Glenn Ford movie Blackboard Jungle: that he was the rebel voice... > Read more

Bob Dylan: That's All Right Mama (1962)

Bob Dylan: That's All Right Mama (1962)

It's possible only obsessive Dylanologists and those with far too much time on their hands would know the full story behind those many outtake albums (and bootlegs) which have emerged over the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . DEUTSCHE WERTARBEIT: Presenting, the one and only . . .

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . DEUTSCHE WERTARBEIT: Presenting, the one and only . . .

For way more than a decade, the sole album attributed to Deutsche Wertarbeit – which translates from the German as “German Craftsmanship” or “German quality” –... > Read more

Various Artists: Soul Sok Sega (Strut/Southbound)

Various Artists: Soul Sok Sega (Strut/Southbound)

A couple of weeks ago we pulled a track from this thoroughly enjoyable (and not a little confusing) compilation to post at From the Vaults.  But this double vinyl (with a CD disc and... > Read more