Ever since his 1980 debut breakthrough, Who's Been Talkin', Robert Cray has been the leading light in the next generation of blues artists, forging a contemporary sound that wanders between the full-bodied electric blues of
B.B. King, the cool, languid soul of Al Green, and the hard-hitting street smart rock-influenced soul of Wilson Pickett. With his soulful, sunkissed vocal style and rich, thoughtful approach to blues guitar, Cray sweetens the inherent yearning and weepy nostalgia of the blues. During his quarter-century career, Cray had been one of the best-selling blues artists of all time, recording more than a dozen studio records and taking home a handful of Grammys. The man's not even 50 yet, so we can look forward to numerous future modern blues offerings from Cray and his band.
Ryko album (his second for the label), Shoulda Been Home, recalls the classic Memphis Soul of the Reverend Al, particularly in Cray's dusty croon and the burbling organs running throughout. Jim Pugh backs Cray up on keyboards, Karl Sevareid on bass, and Kevin Hayes on drums. "Baby's Arms," that album's opener, is a timeless bit of electric blues longing.
Shoulda Been Home