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[Off The Record]
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Robert Cray

Canít blame Robert Cray for staying in the same groove he locked into on his monstrous 1999 release Take Your Shoes Off. That discís straightforward take on Memphis soul was the perfect fit for his smooth vocals and refined blues guitar. The simmering ballads " Already Gone, " " Anytime, " and " Help Me Forget " provide further opportunities for Cray to offset his coolly laid-back singing with a brittle-toned guitar attack that reaches some piercing emotional peaks.

But though the disc finds him once again ably supported by an impeccable crew of backing musicians, and though it maintains that comfortable, live-in-the-studio feel, it lacks some of Take Your Shoes Offís heated edge ó heís just a little more reflective on these tracks. Fortunately, Cray has the depth to deal with the grayer areas of a romance in ruins. Itís still too bad that he cuts the burning blues of " Renew Blues " after just a one-minute tease, because the track really seemed to be going places. But nine minutes of " Out of Eden " give him space to let it all hang out.

(Robert Cray performs on August 15 at the Cape Cod Melody Tent and on August 16 at the South Shore Music Circus. Call the Cape Cod Melody Tent at 508-775-9100 and the South Shore Music Circus at 781-383-1400.)


Issue Date: August 2 - 9, 2001

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