Blues singer/guitarist Robert Cray is certainly a man who can be called a music legend. In a career that has spanned forty years he’s released sixteen studio albums (“In my soul” will be his 17th); sold over 12 million records; been nominated for a Grammy award fifteen times and won 5 Grammy Awards; has played on a John Lee Hooker album; written or performed with artists including Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughan; and has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame – one of the youngest living artists to receive the honour.
His latest album, “In my soul” is a Soul and Blues album influenced by the music released by Stax and Chess records which included artists such as Otis Redding, Booker T & the MGs, Isaac Hayes and many more. There are some covers on the album – “Nobodys fault but mine” which was originally by a Stax artist, Otis Redding, Bobby Blues band’s “Deep in my soul” and the Isaac Hayes/David Porter song “Your good thing’s about to come to an end”
The first thing that struck me with this album was even before I put the CD on – it was the cover. It’s a great looking cover – a simple but effective photo and with a real retro feel to it, enhanced by details right down to the Stereo logo and the text to say “can also be played on mono equipment” and “33 1/3 microgroove”.
Brief comments on a few tracks…
The album kicks off with the slow song “Hold on” and with it’s lyrics about holding on to a relationship it’s got quite a thoughtful, sad feel to it. It’s a beautiful song.
The next song is one of the covers – “Nobodys fault but mine”. With the guitars then horn section it opens with, it’s a much more lively song right from the start. It’s got a much more prominent drum sound and the catchy guitar riff plus the horn section which is used regularly throughout the song mean that it has a very different feel to the first song, and has quite a 70s Soul feel to it.
“Your good thing’s about to come to an end” is a great song, and Robert Cray has done an excellent cover of it – the vocals are beautiful and the music is perfectly done – sounding great but kept slightly subdued to focus the listeners attention on those vocals.
One of my favourite tracks on the album is “What would you say”. With the lyrics that have Robert Cray dreaming of a better world, in some way’s it’s a blues equivalent to John Lennon’s “Imagine”. A beautiful song.
“Hip tight onions” is a great instrumental track. Co-written with his band-mate Richard Cousin’s, it’s a tribute to Booker T.
This is a superb album from start to finish. Lovely clear sharp guitar playing and excellent vocals that range from a smooth Soul sound to a more gritty Blues sound, combine to make an album that is an essential purchase for all Blues lovers.
“In my soul” will be released on 31st March 2014 via Provogue records.
1. You move me
2. Nobodys fault but mine
3. Fine yesterday
4. Your good thing’s about to come to an end
5. I guess I’ll never know
6. Hold on
7. What would you say
8. Hip tight onions
9. You’re everything
10. Deep in my soul
11. Pillow (Bonus track)