I'd never before taken the time to listen to Robert Cray; I've been missing out. A comparison to Al Green piqued my interest enough to pick up "Take Your Shoes Off." I'm glad I did.
The Robert Cray Band's first Rykodisc album is a classic. Though known for blues, Cray and mates Jim Pugh (keyboards), Karl Sevareid (bass) and Kevin Hayes (drums) have made the best soul album of 1999 with the help of The Memphis Horns and The Nashelles among others.
"Love Gone To Waste" spares no punches in questioning love gone bad, while "That Wasn't Me" puts on the puppy-dog eyes in explaining away a mistake ("Could I have done something wrong?"). Though "There's Nothing Wrong" will help more than a few broken hearts mend, "Let Me Know" pays tribute to the mind games that can plague the end of a bad break-up ("Let me know, was it that bad?").
"It's All Gone" should cement Cray's place as a troubadour worthy of the pedestal many 1960s soul legends attained. He even pays homage to his blues roots on Willie Dixon's "Tollin' Bells," a powerful dirge which has you lookin' over your shoulder for the Grim Reaper.
If Cray's blues are anything comparable, I've got a lot of listening to do.
Copyright © The Southerner 1999.