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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Robert Cray
     

20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Robert Cray

by Robert Cray
 

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The '80s were good rockin’ times for blues fans. Steve Ray Vaughan was selling out arena shows around the country, and Robert Cray came on the scene, straight out of the Pacific Northwest but sounding like he’d spent his childhood in Memphis or Muscle Shoals. While Vaughan’s career ended with a tragic helicopter accident in 1990, Cray’s soul rock and blues continue to

Overview

The '80s were good rockin’ times for blues fans. Steve Ray Vaughan was selling out arena shows around the country, and Robert Cray came on the scene, straight out of the Pacific Northwest but sounding like he’d spent his childhood in Memphis or Muscle Shoals. While Vaughan’s career ended with a tragic helicopter accident in 1990, Cray’s soul rock and blues continue to flourish. For those who mainly know Cray through his radio hits of the late ‘80s, and for those hard-core completists, The Best of Robert Cray: The Millennium Collection is essential. The big ones, “Smokin’ Gun” and “Right Next Door (Because of Me),” start the CD on familiar ground. But then the album goes deeper, catching Cray covering Albert King’s “You’re Gonna Need Me,” playing stellar guitar on “I Was Warned,” and going for the innocent side of ‘50s R&B with “The One in the Middle.” Also interesting is the fact that all of the different bands that Cray led while he was with Mercury Records are represented here, illustrating that changes in lineup never seem to affect what has become the singer/songwriter/guitarist’s signature sound.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Although long departed from Mercury Records, Robert Cray served as a co-compiler on this discount-priced best-of, which reviews his career from 1986 to 1997 by way of ten tracks drawn from seven albums. Maybe it was his influence that led to the range of material, since a record company executive left to himself might have been tempted to focus more on the earlier part of that period. For four years, from the fall of 1986, when "Smoking Gun" emerged from Strong Persuader on its way to a Top 40 placing, to the fall of 1990, when the gold-selling Midnight Stroll was released, Cray managed to be both a wonderful soul singer, blues guitarist, songwriter, and hitmaker. Thereafter, his record sales fell off. The compilers argue in effect that there was no diminution of his talents, just his popularity, which may be fair enough. But the best-of/greatest-hits compilation is a relatively unforgiving form, and one can't help noting the absence of recordings such as "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark," "Acting This Way," and "The Forecast (Calls for Pain)" that made the charts, earned significant radio play, and/or earned Grammy nominations or awards. Maybe the selected songs are the ten best recorded performances by Cray on Mercury, but if so that's primarily in the opinion of the compilers; other entities have thought otherwise. Nevertheless, the album does contain Cray's two signature songs, "Smoking Gun" and "Right Next Door (Because of Me)," and his work is consistent enough that any discussion of his best will find valid arguments on many sides. A neophyte on a limited budget who is curious about Cray can get a good idea of what his music sounds like by buying this collection.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/15/2002
Label:
Mercury
UPC:
0044006330020
catalogNumber:
063300
Rank:
28386

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Robert Cray   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Albert Collins   Guitar
Peter Boe   Keyboards
Richard Cousins   Bass
Kevin Hayes   Drums
Wayne Jackson   Trombone,Trumpet
Tim Kaihatsu   Guitar
Andrew Love   Tenor Saxophone
Dave Olson   Drums
Mark Pender   Trumpet
Karl Sevareid   Bass
Ed Manion   Saxophone
Jim Pugh   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Robert Cray   Composer
D. Amy   Composer
Bruce Bromberg   Producer
Richard Cousins   Composer
Andy McKaie   Compilation Supervisor
Dennis Walker   Composer,Producer
Art Tipaldi   Liner Notes
Vartan   Art Direction
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination
Jim Pugh   Composer

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