Gordon Wood and Phil Bird at the PORTER CELLAR BAR, Bath
A golden thread of magical music runs through Gordon Wood's set, evoking what the eminent rock critic Greil Marcus described as the "mystery train", that spirit of connectedness in the best of rock, country and blues. Here we have Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Johnny Cash, Bo Diddley, the Byrds, the Beatles, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Otis Redding - judiciously selected covers interspersed with Wood's own finely crafted songs which sit comfortably among those of the greats.
The thing about Wood is that he is fearlessly uncompromising in the showcasing of his influences and his songwriting talents, and in his inimitable style and delivery. Phil Bird, his faithful sidekick of many years, is a lyrical guitar virtuoso who's thoroughly convincing in the many different genres exhaustively demanded by Wood in his rootsy repertoire.
Songs of Wood's, such as Outside Lookin' In, Sweet Angel Eyes and Crying Shame, both contemplative and catchy, are in the timeless mould of the classic rock opus, while full-tilt workouts like Run Johnny Run and Must Be Love crank up the excitement.
All this said, there's still a disarming plaintiveness, an elusive vulnerability even, in Wood's generally wiry demeanour that adds an endearing quirkiness to a performance which frequently brims with bravado. A bravado best illustrated in his utterly unique and lascivious rendering of Van Morrison's Gloria, a tour de force tornado of raw passion.
Wood positively revels in his obvious immersion in the swaggering genius of rock 'n' roll touchstones. Against the backdrop of today's tedious music scene which offers so much blandness and superficiality, Wood's authenticity and conviction comes in like a storm, sweeping all before it. - Bristol Evening Post
Gordon Wood Band, Dale Watson and his Lone Stars: ST BONAVENTURE SOCIAL CLUB, Bristol
Two contrasting bands, one from Cheltenham and the other all the way from Austin,Texas, helped get this new venue under way for Gloucester promotor Tim Martin.
Wood, in the opening slot, took the opportunity of showcasing his new all-acoustic band, quickly establishing his credentials with the cognoscenti in a set comprising his own compelling songs and covers of Dylan, Stones, Willie Nelson, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. The new sound was something of a shock at first after the raw energy of Wood's customary electric set, but the expanded line-up, now including his son Stephen on acoustic bass guitar, gave a fresh slant to the material and brought out that plaintive edge in Wood's demanding vocals.
While Wood's set was a blend of approaches illustrating how deeply the blues has influenced popular music, Watson's was a lesson in the whole gamut of country styles . . . . . . all impeccably arranged with Watson's rich baritone set off against plenty of tasty Telecaster duelling.
It was quintessential laid-back country and rootsy rock at it's best. - Geoff Ward, Gloucester Citizen
GLOUCESTER BLUES FESTIVAL: Gordon Wood Band at the Welsh Harp
Wood's music is infused with the spirit of the blues, but ranges far beyond the 12-bar domain. He pounds out an exciting mix of spontaneous, high-energy raunchy blues and rock (comprising his own distinctive songs plus quality covers from Roscoe Gordon, Bo Diddley, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan) which hits an immediate high and envelops the audience in a rousing good time atmosphere. - Gloucester Citizen
Gordon Wood Band: DIVING DUCK BLUES CLUB, Lansdown Hotel, Cheltenham
In these days of mass-marketed musical mediocrity what joy it is to hear some full-tilt rootsy rock and blues played with virtuosity and heartfelt conviction. The Gordon Wood Band, appearing at this new club which was lauched in February, proved they are top of the rockpile for no-nonsense raunch 'n' roll, flexing a racy repertoire of '50s and '60s prime cuts and a clutch of highly memorable original songs bearing a strong period flavour.
A veteran blues shouter in the old style, frontman Wood, also the bassist and the band's songwriter, has a no-holes-barred approach to his music, displaying an obvious captivation by, and total involement in, his art. Backed impeccably by guitarist Phil Bird, an heroic cruncher in the manner of, say, Paul Kossof or Mick Taylor, and hardhat drummer Martin Allsop laying bricks with relish, Wood rocks with a raw spirit that rapidly racks up a good time atmosphere.
One is quickly reminded of the early Stones, the Pretty Things or the Yardbirds as the set gets under way. High-octane covers of such gems as Dylan's Absolutely Sweet Marie and Highway 61 Revisited, Bo Diddley's Cadillac and Who Do You Love and Van Morrison's Gloria are contrasted with some down-tempo standards including Willie Nelson's Night Life.
And the remarkable thing is the extent to which Wood's own deftly-crafted yet powerful songs stand up among these classics - hear, for example, Outside, Lookin' In and Out On The Weekend. With his foot in the tank from start to finish, Wood, notably for battering his bass-lines like there's no tomorrow, packs a real punch. A knock-out show! - Geoff Ward, Gloucester Citizen
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL FRINGE: The Detonators at Shaftesbury Hall, July 1989
The doormen, Des and Owen warned me before I entered that it was hot and dark inside, but the music was not bad. It certainly was T-shirt temperature at the Fringe Rock Binge at Shaftesbury Hall - and the music was hot too.
. . . . . . . . The last band to play were the best. The Detonators looked somewhat less active on stage than the others, and let the music do the talking. The slow number That's What They All Say, written by frontman Gordon Wood, was the night's best track and you could sense the audience's enjoyment. It was difficult to fault The Detonators.
Des and Owen were right, the hall was dark but the music was not bad at all. - James Hutton Potts, Gloucestershire Echo