Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Robert Cray: G Live, Guildford 29/10/18

Robert Cray: G LIVE, Guildford 29/10/18 PHOTO: Chaz Brooks
Robert Cray: G LIVE, Guildford 29/10/18 PHOTO: Chaz Brooks

The Mike Eldred Trio, from the deep south of Mississippi, opened the show with a bang. It’s rare that an American artist bring support from the US, let alone a trio, so full credit goes to Robert Cray for arranging this. Cray recently guested on Eldred’s latest album “Baptist Town” which was recorded at the historic Sun Studio in Memphis.

With Eldred on guitar and vocals, Jerry Angel on drums and John Bazz on bass the trio gave a storming set of high energy rhythm and blues, with echoes of Dr Feelgood, George Thorogood and Big Boy Bloater with a touch of thrash blues added if there is such a term. Highlight tracks from the album the trio played included "Black Annie" and 100 "Dollar Bill". This was Eldred’s first time in the UK, let’s hope it’s not the last, and he was effusive in his thanks to Cray.

Cray is a five-time Grammy winner and one of the world’s top bluesmen. Like many of the blues greats such as BB King, he is constantly touring and Guildford’s G Live concert hall is a regular stop on his UK schedule.

When you go to see Robert Cray you know precisely what you are going to get; smooth, soulful blues. Backed by his schoolfriend and forever bassist, the barefooted Richard Cousins, and top US session musicians Dover Weinberg on keyboards, who also played with Cray on his last UK Tour, and Terence Clark on drums.

Cray opened his set with “Enough is Enough”, then cool blues followed cool blues, with some funk thrown in for good measure. “We like it funky” laughed Cray as he broke into “Chicken In The Kitchen”. Then “I Don’t Care” kept the tempo up.

A poignant moment came when he dedicated the Tony Joe White track “Aspen Colorado” to White, who recently passed away. Cray recorded the track on his 2017 “Hi Rhythm” album with White sitting in on the session. Cray put his heart and soul into the song and this spurred him on to hit a higher gear for the rest of the show.

“Right Next Door” and “You Move Me” closed the set before the group returned for the encore of “You Must Believe in Yourself” and “Time Makes Two”. Cray is the ultimate professional, immaculately dressed, appreciative and courteous to his audiences and a sensational blues guitarist.

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