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 themselves into your teenage memory forever.

So when Springtseen 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.

51RXlmQ70lL._SL500_AA300_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

Susanna and the Magical Orchestra: Love Will Tear Us Apart (2006)

Susanna and the Magical Orchestra: Love Will Tear Us Apart (2006)

The Susanna here is Norway's Susanna Wallumrod and the Magical Orchestra is keyboard player Morten Qvenild . . . and this Joy Division classic is right in their frame of reference because her... > Read more

The Honeycombs: Have I The Right (1964)

The Honeycombs: Have I The Right (1964)

In the Beatpop boom which followed the Beatles, there were any number of great one-off hits (Concrete and Clay by Unit 4 Plus Two, and Wake Up My Mind by the Ugly's spring to mind). But few had... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: A-Kel of Tomorrow People

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: A-Kel of Tomorrow People

They began life as a studio project . . . but the Wellington collective that is Tomorrow People quickly became a proper band, and one which took their name from the Ziggy Marley song and are... > Read more

MOLLY MELDRUM PROFILED (2017): Video star killing them at radio

MOLLY MELDRUM PROFILED (2017): Video star killing them at radio

On this side of the Tasman, Ian “Molly” Meldrum probably means as much to rock aficionados as Karyn Hay means to Australians. All that might be about to change however with the... > Read more