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Live From Across The Pond

by: Robert Cray

Album Artwork

Robert Cray Band
Live From Across The Pond

(Nozzle/Vanguard)

I remember the exact moment in time when I first heard Robert Cray. I was sharing a place in Union, SC with my buddy Gregg, who played guitar in a band with me. The radio was on one evening, and we were listening for new songs to cover in our bar gigs. We had just heard “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by the Georgia Satellites for the first time, and on came this infectious blues tune called “Smokin’ Gun” by Robert Cray. Wow. I was hooked in immediately.

In the years to come, I would follow Cray’s career, his work with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton, his excellent albums with songs like “Phone Booth,” an Albert King classic, which kicks off this new live set - all good, all the time. A subtle guitarist, sometimes reminiscent of Buddy Guy, Cray plays from the heart. No shredding or fretboard pyrotechnics. Even when he is truly working the Strat, as on “The Things You Do to Me,” it’s more about making the notes count, much like the man does that he was opening shows for during this recording, Mr. Slowhand, Eric Clapton. The songs were recorded during a week of shows at Royal Albert Hall, with standout jamming on “Our Last Time” and “I Guess I Showed Her.”

His Memphis-Stax-soulful voice wraps around these songs and makes them each as snug as a bug in a rug. “Back Door Slam, “ an obvious tip of the hat to sex drenched r&b vocalists like Johnnie Taylor, proves once again that Robert Cray possesses one of the most aesthetically pleasing voices in modern blues. At the risk of sounding like an old cigarette commercial, Live from Across the Pond is “Two full CD’s packed with pure listening pleasure.”

-Michael Buffalo Smith

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