The Definitive Collection

The Definitive Collection

by Robert CrayRobert Cray


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Robert Cray's musical strengths, which include an economic, elegant and melodic guitar approach and a soulful and unthreatening vocal style, have led many blues purists to question his authenticity in the genre, but to his credit, Cray has ignored all that and fashioned an approachable legacy that treats the blues as a vital ingredient in a kind of soul/blues mix that looks forward as much as it enfolds the past. This is an artist, remember, who managed to get the blues, even if it was somewhat sanitized, into regular rotation on MTV in the 1980s, and if he seems more jazz than Delta in his guitar playing, well, there's nothing inherently wrong with that. Cray's main talent may be in synthesis, but he can still get you good in a cutting contest. This 16-track compilation spans Cray's recording career beginning with his Hightone Records debut, Bad Influence from 1983 (nothing from Cray's first LP, 1980s Who's Been Talkin' on Tomato Records, is included here) and runs through his lengthy stint with Mercury Records to his more recent turns with Rykodisc and Sanctuary Records. What becomes obvious in listening to this sequence is how remarkably consistent Cray has been in his sound, even as he has grown more to the soul side of things. The blues is always there, just beneath the surface, and his broad accessibility is impressive. What's perhaps even more impressive is Cray's songwriting, which has opened up to include several political songs of late, and he is doing what many more acclaimed contemporary blues players have shied away from. He is addressing his times, all within the context of his style. This collection makes an adequate introduction to Cray's work, and it features key tracks like "Phone Booth," "Smoking Gun" and "I Was Warned," but one gets the feeling that it might be a bit premature, that Cray's best and most innovative work might still be up and around the bend.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/27/2007
Label: Hip-O Records
UPC: 0602498789759
catalogNumber: 000677902
Rank: 9605

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robert Cray   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Memphis Horns   Track Performer
Peter Boe   Keyboards
Richard Cousins   Bass
Robert Gray   Guitar,Vocals
Jack Hale   Trombone
Kevin Hayes   Drums
Jim Horn   Tenor Saxophone
Wayne Jackson   Trombone,Trumpet
Tim Kaihatsu   Guitar
Andrew Love   Tenor Saxophone
Mark Pender   Trumpet
Warren Rand   Saxophone
Antoine Salley   Rhythm Section
Karl Sevareid   Bass
Jim Spake   Tenor Saxophone
Lee Spath   Percussion
Mike Vannice   Keyboards
Steve Jordan   Percussion
Ed Manion   Tenor Saxophone
Jim Pugh   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Robert Cray   Producer
Willie Mitchell   Horn Arrangements
Niko Bolas   Engineer
Bruce Bromberg   Producer
Bill Dashiell   Engineer
John Hampton   Engineer
Jeff Katz   Cover Photo
Mark Needham   Engineer
Steve Savage   Engineer
Larry Sloven   Executive Producer
Don Smith   Engineer
Dennis Walker   Producer
Skidd Mills   Engineer
Mike Kappus   Executive Producer
Steve Jordan   Producer
Pat Lawrence   Executive Producer
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination
Scott Schinder   Liner Notes,Essay
Jim Pugh   Producer

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