Gary U.S. Bonds’ 74th birthday party at BB King’s was an especially remarkable happening, as it served to mark the official release of BY US BONDS: That’s My Story and brought out a few music notables to help celebrate the occasion.
The music menu for this special show included “New Orleans,” “Quarter To Three,” “Out of Work” and “Jolé Blon”. Southside Johnny, Dee Dee Sharp, Chubby Checker, Jerry Blavat and Gene “Daddy G” Barge all joined the on stage festivities to the delight of the overflowing crowd. Gary U.S.Bonds showed that he can still rock and roll all night and might have gotten a vial of age defying water from Gene Barge’s fountain of youth. Barge, who is only 86, wailed on the sax, along with Road House Rocker Joey Stann. The after- party went on into the wee hours of the morning in Lucille’s Grill , boasting a killer jam session, which featured a tireless Gary U.S.Bonds and an introduction by co-author Stephen Cooper , who brought out a copy of BY US BONDS: That’s My Story.
In the book’s forward, Steven Van Zandt tells of his adventures on the “oldies circuit” and how he came to meet Gary U.S.Bonds. He also recalls conversations he and Bruce Springsteen had before Springsteen decided to produce a Gary U.S. Bonds album. A hint of the no holds barred observations of the music business that awaits readers later in the book is evident, as Van Zandt reveals that the Dedication album might never have been released without him bringing his production talents to the project.
As you explore your way through the twenty chapters, you’ll find out about Gary Anderson’s roots in Norfolk, Virginia, where he played with the likes of The Drifters, The Moonglows and Ivory Joe Hunter. It’s also where he met Legrand Records founder Frank Guida, who bestowed the “U.S.Bonds” name on Gary Anderson and who recorded “New Orleans”, his first single, in 1959. Book readers will also learn about how he overcame racial prejudices, met “Big Mama” Laurie Anderson and brought his daughter, “Little Mama” Laurie into the musical fold. You’ll also witness how he managed to keep making music even after falling into musical obscurity, until Steven Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen helped bring him back into the spotlight.
As you move through the pages, you’ll be mesmerized by the diversity of his musical talents, as Anderson talks about his work with other music legends that include Otis Redding, Chuck Jackson, Jackie Wilson, Phil Ramone, Dick Clark, Dickey Betts and Phoebe Snow.
BY US BONDS: That’s My Story is a music primer that offers an in-depth and fascinating insight into an American music icon whose career spans over six decades. It may also make you wonder why Gary U.S. Bonds has not yet been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; perhaps this book will help get him this long overdue recognition.
– Howard B. Leibowitz