Welcome to Review Revue, where every Thursday I dig through the KEXP stacks to share DJ reviews and comments written on the covers of LPs (and occasionally CDs) in the ’80s and ’90s, when the station was called KCMU, the DJs were volunteers, and people shared their opinions on little white labels instead of the internet.
About a year ago, I discovered that Robert Cray had roots in the Seattle/Tacoma area, and I shared the Robert Cray Band's album False Accusations in this space. I figured we're about due for another hit of Cray, so this week I bring you Midnight Stroll, the album after the album after the one that really blew up. At least one person at KCMU loved this album — so much so that they took up several little white labels to write a heartfelt essay on it, including calling out 8 of the album's 11 tracks as "faves."
Cray has a new album, That's What I Heard, coming out very soon, and reading this impassioned defense of his work (and the description of the new album at robertcray.com) has me quite looking forward to hearing it. He'll be on tour from the end of February to mid-April (and I really hope there's a Seattle date coming after that), so make sure to catch him if you can.
"Some folks consider Bob Cray's Blues/Soul Fusion as somehow 'inauthentic.' Perhaps they've never heard of Magic Sam or spent much time listening to great Stax Volt artists like Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, William Bell, and Johnny Taylor. The roots of Robert Cray's Blues aren't in the Delta, but in the sound of the above-mentioned artists. The last album was a holding pattern. This one's considerably better. He hasn't sung and played with this much passion since False Accusations. Production has that AOR sound, but AOR doesn't play music this soulful. And those Memphis Horns are very appropriate. Fave cuts: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, and 2.5. The best modern blues artist (who, after all, got his start in the clubs of Seattle) deserves at least M this time around."
"Please avoid A-1 as it's getting widespread AOR exposure."
"'Walk Around Time' is snappy."