Time Will Tell

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
?Survivor,? the opening cut on guitarist/singer/songwriter Robert Cray?s ambitious Time Will Tell, tells the story of his career. Cray grew up on the blues, paid his dues on the road during the '70s and '80s, and went on to have hits on rock radio. He?s now settled into a mature career, with a strong following in both the rock and blues arenas. That means he can stretch out and still keep his fans, and that?s just what he does here. The sound of Cray?s electric sitar gives the opening of ?Up in the Sky? a '60s Fillmore feel, as if Ravi Shankar were playing with the Electric Flag; when strings enter, though, the tune is back in pop territory. More enticing are the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Roberta Penn
“Survivor,” the opening cut on guitarist/singer/songwriter Robert Cray’s ambitious Time Will Tell, tells the story of his career. Cray grew up on the blues, paid his dues on the road during the '70s and '80s, and went on to have hits on rock radio. He’s now settled into a mature career, with a strong following in both the rock and blues arenas. That means he can stretch out and still keep his fans, and that’s just what he does here. The sound of Cray’s electric sitar gives the opening of “Up in the Sky” a '60s Fillmore feel, as if Ravi Shankar were playing with the Electric Flag; when strings enter, though, the tune is back in pop territory. More enticing are the blues-based numbers like “Back Door Slam,” which is a wry take-off on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Back Door Man.” “I Didn’t Know” is the soulful Cray, vulnerable, innocent and sweet as Otis Redding and O. V. Wright. The addition of horns on “Your Pal” takes the music deeper into Memphis Stax/Volt territory. The late-night ballad “Lotta Lovin’ ” could have been covered by Bobby Blue Bland or Johnnie Taylor. More contemporary in feel is “Distant Shore,” written by the band’s keyboardist and co-producer, Jim Pugh, which tells of “war on a distant shore,” kicked up by the quintet’s exciting playing. Yes, the Cray band spreads its wings a bit on Time Will Tell, but it’s the trusted soul-and-blues man that keeps the project grounded.
All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
Even diehard Robert Cray fans admit that over the course of the last decade, the singer/guitarist/songwriter has crafted albums that are practically interchangeable. Although Cray has created his own niche with a slick but powerful Memphis-styled R&B/soul/blues stew, his sound become repetitious; even though the songs' quality remained way above average. Since leaving Ryko after two albums, he and keyboardist Jim Pugh -- an increasingly pivotal player in Cray's work -- produced this 13th disc between labels. That provided them the freedom to experiment without corporate intervention. While his "if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it" ethic allowed multiple Grammy wins, Cray clearly wanted to step outside the box he built, resulting in a slightly different direction this time around. Those who enjoy the comfy fit of his previous work have little to fear; there is plenty of the love-lost/found R&B that he's known for. In particular "Lotta Lovin'" is a pleasant ballad that is about as novel as its pedestrian title. "Spare Some Love" likewise treads familiar musical ground although lyrics about finding love before getting old and frail "I can only hang so long/ if I go another week/ I might have just passed on" show Cray may be feeling his mortality. But the slightly off-kilter Sly & the Family Stone horns from Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini on "Your Pal" twist that tune towards a more edgy approach. On the album's leadoff track, Cray unloads more unusual -- at least for him -- material. The opening tune, "Survivor," is a protest tune about the Middle East war "you take a little schoolboy and teach him who to hate/ then you send him to the desert for the oil near Kuwait" with Pugh's minor key piano adding a curious boogie-woogie feel. "Distant Shore" is likewise anti-war with a deceptively bubbly percolating beat. "Up in the Sky" finds Cray debuting on electric sitar. It's a slightly psychedelic slant, more commendable for the guitarist dipping his toes into unlikely musical waters than for its clunky and slightly depressing lyrics about an older couple wanting to die together. It is also one of two tracks accompanied by the Turtle Island String Quartet, another unique addition. "Back Door Slam" -- likely a play on the "Back Door Man" cliché of so many blues tunes -- might be the funkiest Cray has gotten; and his shimmering guitar solo is just tangled enough to push the song into more exotic territory. While he's not making radical moves, Time Will Tell is a promising route for Robert Cray. If anything, he hasn't gone far enough afield from his MO to attract a new audience. Meanwhile, established fans should welcome the few newfound twists in the soul/bluesman's approach.
Entertainment Weekly
This expansionism works, though it's inevitably the guitar-organ interplay that kills.
jazzreview.com
This release could rival the success of [Strong Persuader] and gain some new ground for Cray’s fan base.

This expansionism works, though it's inevitably the guitar-organ interplay that kills.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/27/2012
  • Label: Imports
  • EAN: 5050159019427
  • Catalog Number: 1074797

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Survivor - Robert Cray Band (5:14)
  2. 2 Up in the Sky - Robert Cray Band (4:54)
  3. 3 Back Door Slam - Robert Cray Band (4:39)
  4. 4 I Didn't Know - Robert Cray Band (5:00)
  5. 5 Your Pal - Robert Cray Band (5:01)
  6. 6 Lotta Lovin' - Robert Cray Band (4:52)
  7. 7 What You Need (Good Man) - Robert Cray Band (5:16)
  8. 8 Spare Some Love? - Robert Cray Band (3:42)
  9. 9 Distant Shore - Robert Cray Band (4:49)
  10. 10 Time Makes Two - Robert Cray Band (5:25)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Robert Cray Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals, Electric Sitar
Turtle Island String Quartet Strings
David Balakrishnan Violin
Luis Conte Percussion
Kevin Hayes Drums
Jerry Martini Tenor Saxophone, Tambourine
Cynthia Robinson Trumpet
Danny Seidenberg Viola
Karl Sevareid Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass
Mark Summer Cello
Evan Price Violin
Jim Pugh Keyboards
Technical Credits
Robert Cray Producer
Bernie Grundman Mastering
Mark Needham Engineer
Mike Kappus Executive Producer
Frank Martin String Arrangements
Frank Gayer Martin String Arrangements
Jim Pugh Producer, String Arrangements
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Blue soul

    Astute critics (that is, those who don’t dismiss Cray out-of-hand for his cross-genre forays) have pointed out that Cray is more fully in tune with late-60s and early-70s soul music than traditional blues. Though his guitar leads borrow from the book of B.B., his songs, singing and arrangements look more to the optimistic and rhythmic edge of Atlantic and Stax. His first album for Sanctuary shows off his combined blues and soul to fine effect. ¶ In addition to taking on a co-producer (keyboardist, Jim Pugh), Cray has expanded both his lyrical and musical range. "Survivor" surveys the world’s political turmoil, blending funky second-line drumming and low-end piano runs with Cray’s urban blues. The Family Stone’s Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini’s add sly trumpet work on "Your Pal," and "Up in the Sky" features both an electric sitar (forever bringing to mind B.J. Thomas’ "Hooked on a Feeling") and the fullness of the Turtle Island String Quartet. It’s an engaging pop turn that’s sure to make the blues purists howl. ¶ The album does have some more calculated moments, but they’re balanced by soulful exchanges like Cray’s chording and Pugh’s organ on "Spare Some Love?" It’s exactly when Cray bends soul into a blue groove (something he does here more often than not) that he brings invention to his music - invention that reinvigorates his blues and soul sources. ¶ 3-3/4 stars, if allowed fractional ratings.

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