Review: Sugaray Rayford – Southside

Posted on: Friday, Jun 12, 2015

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Sugaray Rayford – Southside

(NimoySue Records: NIM 2)

Here’s a great album from the big man with an even bigger voice – the Texas-born, California-based Sugaray Rayford, who has put out a winner in  his latest release, “Southside”, which comprises of all original songs written by him and writing partner Ralph Carter. All bases are covered from funk to soul and blues, with a great grooving band.

“Southside” is a follow up to his Delta Groove Records release, “Dangerous” in 2013, and he also featured on The Mannish Boys recordings for the same label – here he is firmly out front and sounds to be having a complete ball! A prominent feature on all tracks is the absolutely terrific guitar work of Gino Matteo – a true master of all blues styles.

The album kicks off in a laid back jazzy groove with “Southside Of Town”, with the big man’s voice imposing itself straight away, and with superb contributions from the band, including Leo Dombecki’s keyboards and the saxophone and trumpet of Allan Walker and Gary Bivona. The following “Miss Thang” rides on a tough guitar motif from Matteo as the band get funky. More guitar fireworks start “Texas Bluesman” which rolls along in fine style on this ode to all things from the Lone Star State, and of course, another heartfelt vocal from Rayford.

The soulful “Call Off The Mission” is horn-fuelled and the rhythm section of Ralph Carter (bass) and Lavell Jones (drums) push things along nicely; “All I Think About” is firmly again in funk territory and again all about the groove! It has, like a few tunes on the album, a very Memphis feel to it. The lengthy “Slow Motion” ends this fine album – a soulful, dreamy (and saucy!) ballad, perfect for Sugaray Rayford’s voice.

Highly recommended for all lovers of blues and soul – a classy offering from a great singer!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.sugarayblues.com

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