Robert Cray

Authorized Bootleg: Live Outdoor Concert, Austin, Texas 05/25/87
Universal Music
Robert Cray

Robert Cray Made on the heels of Strong Persuader and the single “Smoking Gun,” Robert Cray and his band are superb during this live show, and Cray plays a lot of interesting, soulful guitar.

Early parts emphasize older material, like a killer version of “Don’t Touch Me” and the funky pop-soul of “Bad Influence,” while later songs like “False Accusations” and “New Blood” showcase the players’ skills. Lyrically, Cray often deals with infidelity or the desire for something different, and his guitar solos wonderfully convey his emotion on the topics. “Phone Booth” gives the listener the full treatment; a truly great vocal is almost overshadowed by soloing that mixes single notes, chords, double-stops, and everything inbetween. It’s followed by “Playin’ In the Dirt,” with its racy lyric matched by an intense solo and the band’s funk. Sterling versions of the two songs that were extremely popular at the time – “Smoking Gun” and “Right Next Door (Because of Me)” have Cray and the band playing tight and fiery. In the years since, Cray has changed his musical formula a bit and some would argue he should play more guitar. Still, recordings like this prove he’s a true master of the sixstring.

This article originally appeared in VG’s Oct. ’10 issue.  All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine.  Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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