Review: Sugaray Rayford – Dangerous

Posted on: Monday, Nov 25, 2013


Sugaray Rayford – Dangerous

(Delta Groove Music: DGPCD161)

Here’s a dynamic Delta Groove debut for the big man with the big voice – Sugaray Rayford – originally from Texas, but based in Southern California, and who came to the attention of label boss Randy Chortkoff after an impressive appearance at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, which led to him becoming frontman with The Mannish Boys, and featuring on live shows and also the double album, “Double Dynamite”.

The first release under his own name, “Dangerous”, is a generous 14-track collection of specially written songs and some choice covers, and as ever on a Delta Groove the cast-list is of the highest quality. To name but a few, helping out are Kim Wilson, Franck Goldwasser, Kid Andersen, Sugar Ray Norcia, Bill Stuve, Big Pete, Fred Kaplan and a host more . . . phew! The album was co-produced by Randy Chortkoff and Jeff Scott Fleenor in Shadow Hills, California.

The music, not suprisingly, considering the folk on-board is of the highest quality throughout. Two definite highlights are the songs penned by Sugar Ray Norcia – the opening “Country Boy” and the self-explanatory “”Two Times Sugar”, on which him and ‘ fellow sugar’, Sugaray Rayford share vocals, with some nice piano also by Anthony Geraci; and stinging guitar from ‘Monster’ Mike Welch . . . truly excellent.

The jazzy blues of West Coast master Pee Wee Crayton’s “When It Rains It Pours” takes the pace down’ T-Bone style’, with sweet guitar from Franck Goldwasser and piano from Fred Kaplan, and a dynamite vocal from Sugaray Rayford . . . lovely stuff indeed. Randy Chortkoff’s “Pretty Fine Mama” is a funky blues, driven by his harmonica and a ‘snaky’ guitar motif from Goldwasser. The slow groove of Chortkoff’s “Goin’ Back To Texas” never overstays its welcome at over seven minutes, with Kim Wilson on trademark masterful harmonica, and the song also contains some glorious slide guitar.

Elsewhere a sweet cover of Junior Parker’s “In The Dark” swings in fine style, driven by the horns of Ron Dziubla (saxophone) and Mark Pender (trumpet), and featuring Kid Andersen on lead guitar. Randy Chortkoff also contributes the slow blues of “Surrendered” with tough vocal from Rayford, and more Kim Wilson harmonica and Geraci starrring again on piano.

This great album closes in stomping mood with an uptempo romp through Son House’s “Preaching Blues”, driven by Franck Goldwasser’s slide guitar and the ‘doghouse’ upright bass of Bill Stuve and Jimi Bott’s drums . . . a cracking version of this most oft-covered Son House tune, to end a truly enjoyable solo debut from Sugaray Rayford . . . highly recommended for all blues lovers.


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