At dinner the other night, my friend Walker talked about this guy, whose piano playing was an influence on Theophilus Beckford, the Jamaican piano player who was a reggae pioneer. I’d heard the story of r and b radio in New Orleans drifting over to the Islands, and helping germinate ska’s syncopation, but didn’t have a name to put on it.
Another story on Gordon’s Wikepedia page is about Sam Phillips selling the master of Gordon’s tune Booted to both RPM records and Chess records. Both labels released it as a single, and the RPM version went to No. 1 on the R and B chart. Afterwards, RPM and Chess made a deal. RPM kept Gordon, while Chess signed Howlin’ Wolf.