Robert Cray Band

Cookin' In Mobile
Nozzle Records

On the heels of the live release from a 1987 concert, this is a fascinating study that shows how Robert Cray has grown as an artist, working up soul/pop tunes the likes of which simply weren’t in his repertoire 20 years ago.

“Our Last Time” is exemplary. A blues, it’s not the standard three-chord tune. Cray’s darting fills and killer chordal work put him in a different place, and the choice of notes in his solo is unique, as is the comping he does behind Jim Pugh’s organ solo. And his vocals are perfect – Cray may well be one of the greatest soul
singers around today.

Everything here is more than solid; “Chicken In the Kitchen” has a great lyric, unique changes, and two solos – one almost jazzy, one plain old stompin’ blues. Cray’s bends and the way he plays against the rhythm are as unique as his bell-like tone.

The live DVD in this set matches the CD, and anyone familiar with Cray knows how he and his guitar tend to become a part of each other! This is a perfect set.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.