Online since August 2002

This time, Bonds should stick around

From the Summer 2004 issue.

Back in 20
Back in 20
By Gary "U.S." Bonds

M.C. Records: 2004

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

Gary "U.S." Bonds is rock's answer to Halley's comet. Every 20 years or so, he surfaces to deliver a few worthy efforts and fades away again.

Bonds was one of rock's early hit-makers, scoring with such classics as "Quarter to Three" and "New Orleans" in the early '60s. Then after hooking up with Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt, he made his first official comeback in the early '80, cranking out such rock-revival albums as "Dedication" and "On the Line."

Now he returns with the appropriately titled "Back in 20," making us wonder why he's been missing in action for the past two decades. Joined by his touring band, the Roadhouse Rockers, and a guest list that would make any talk-show host proud, Bonds serves up an entertaining mixture of blues-rock and old-school rock.

Springsteen and Southside Johnny help kick off the set, joining Bonds on the original "Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks." And Southside Johnny sticks around to help out on "Take Me Back" and the Buster Brown nugget "Fannie Mae."

Unlike some of his early '80s work, Bonds isn't locked into the Jersey Shore sound on "Back in 20." In fact, he heads south to cover Otis Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember" and "Every Time I Roll the Dice," from Delbert McClinton's 1992 album "Never Been Rocked Enough." Bonds even teams up with former Allman Brother Dickey Betts on Keb' Mo's "She Just Wants to Dance."

"Back in 20" is filled with standout tracks, particularly "Bitch/Dumb Ass," a salty duet with Phoebe Snow that features Betts on guitar. Put simply, this is good-time party music and we can only hope Bonds sticks around this time so we don't have to wait another 20 years to hear from him again.

Review by Don Weiner. Don is a writer and editor based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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