Review: The Robert Cray Band – 4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (CD + DVD)

Posted on: Monday, Sep 14, 2015

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The Robert Cray Band – 4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (CD + DVD)

(Provogue: PRD PROMO 463/DVD)

Robert Cray – what can you say? The man is pure class both in the guitar and vocal stakes, and on this sparkling live CD and DVD set he and the band are on top form – the music being recorded in four different venues in the Los Angeles area, covering a whole range of the great man’s back catalogue over 40 years of being on the scene, with some special guests along for the ride too!

The 13 tracks are selected from Cray’s 20 releases, going back to the first album, that featured vocalist and harmonica player Curtis Salgado, and also some of the classic 80’s material . . . one thing for sure . . . no fillers here, and everyone a winner!

The music features Robert Cray’s current band, namely long-time bass player Richard Cousins, and drummer Les Falconer; together with keyboard player, Dover Weinberg – who was in Cray’s first ever band. The album is produced by the great Steve Jordan, who plays drums and percussion on several tracks. Other heavyweight guests are Kim Wilson, Lee Oskar, and horn players Trevor Lawrence, Steve Madaio and Tom Scott.

Cray’s music mixes pure soul, with him having such a magnificent voice; and also some very fine blues, that illustrate his incendiary guitar work – and perfect illustrations of the varied material are a quite glorious “Sittin’ On Top Of The World”, with Lee Oskar’s sweet harmonica; and a romp through Sam & Dave’s “Wrap It Up, with vocal by Kim Wilson – whose band, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, covered the song.

The 80’s material, that really saw Cray take off, is here, with stand outs being the timeless “Bad Influence”, the breakthrough “Right Next Door”, and a superb “Forecast Calls For Pain”; the album ending on a real ‘high’ with the beautiful ballad, “Time Takes Two” . . . never overstaying its welcome at a leisurely seven minutes.

Some formats contain a second CD, which features material from the 1982 San Francisco Blues Festival and also Dutch TV show, “Countdown”, which are also featured on the accompanying DVD, which also has interviews with the likes of Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan and Buddy Guy, expressing their admiration for Robert Cray and his music.

Needless to say, this comes highly recommended!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.robertcray.com

(Available on CD/LP/Digital/DVD/Blu Ray)

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