He played bass on Sparks‘ debut album, ‘Kimono My House,’ which included the two hit singles, ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’ and ‘Amateur Hour;‘ he was bass player with Jet, hailed as Glam’s first supergroup; he formed personal favourites of mine, Radio Stars ; he even played bass with The Rolling Stones (oh, yes he did!) … and this was all before teatime. Well, before the Seventies were up.
Since then Martin Gordon has played as session musician with some of pop music’s brightest, and apparently not so bright, stars.
He’s toured the world, collaborating with ‘world music’ stars across the continents and is now settled in Berlin, where the creative spirit of that fine city continues to guide his way.
A look at his excellent website highlights both his work over the years and his deadpan, self-deprecating and sardonic humour. In his more recent releases, he targets conspiracy theorists (and one in particular) and people who believe they have ‘superior jeans.’
It is this clever / pointed / fun writing style that drew me to Radio Stars back in the Seventies. There is, however, generally a point to what Martin writes / sings about.
However, just to throw us a little curveball, his new release has no words. It is though, like his recent songs, a celebration of current affairs. Well, maybe ‘celebration’ is a bit strong – it references the Cop26 conference on climate change.
Martin’s interpretation of what lies ‘over the rainbow’ conflicts somewhat with what young Dorothy expected, this version part doom laden, part painfully sad, bleak and downbeat. It’s a typically pragmatic view from Martin, I have to say.
And who, really, can argue?
In his own words, here’s what inspired Martin, if indeed ‘inspired’ s the correct word.
‘Marking the gathering of the great and the good, the besuited and the bedraggled, the lobbyists and the lobbied in Glasgow to perform the by-now traditional COP26 knees-up, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ is a new single by Martin Gordon. As the planet prepares to expel its inhabitants, why not mark the occasion with this rendering of Dorothy’s favourite showstopper in Eb, well known to be the second-saddest of all keys? This instrumental version has a Rickenbacker bass as a main voice – what’s not to like? After all, Xmas dinner will be served in a tin, with lashings of delicious Spam for afters, and then there’ll be live bombing of France on the telly after the Queen’s speech.
‘Arlen and Yarburg’s melancholy tune has been reworked, rearranged and made available to all, whether demented conspiracy theorist, hysterical populist or regular ol’ human being, although there are less of these than earlier thought.‘
(Released across all platforms on 8th November 2021)