Gary U.S. Bonds Back In 20

When Gary (Anderson) U.S. Bonds (so re-named by a record producer in an effort to scam accidental radio play) released his first record, it was described as "combining rock-combo raunch with impassioned, scorched soul-singing.” That’s not a remarkable achievement for a 20-year old but, at 65 he seems to possess the same timeless ability to rip a roof off and jumpstart a party. His amalgam of blues, R&B and early rock isn’t life changing but it sure is inspirational in its delivery. Energy and enthusiasm personified and joined on this skin-tight recording by guests including Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Dickey Betts and Phoebe Snow. The high-torque results speak for themselves as "Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks” (with Springsteen and Southside Johnny) proves the adage wrong. The ageless Bonds tracks 14 songs, heavy on horn arrangements, a rock-steady rhythm section and group choruses. "Bitch/Dumb Ass” is a hilarious high point that makes you wonder why Snow’s not kicking ass more regularly. And Betts’ muscular slide work coupled with Bonds’ pipes on "She Just Wants to Dance” makes for a uniquely combustible result. This record delivers on all levels for over 46 minutes; Gary U.S. Bonds delivers indefinitely. (M.C.)