Sugaray Rayford ‘Somebody Save Me’ LP/CD (Forty Below) 5/5

Well, I’ve been waiting with bated breath for his second album, his first “The world that we live in” was quite exceptional in places and even now still throws up first time magical moments. So what of this one? Well I can tell you he’s maintained the quality with a slight change in sound, more 60s influenced but it’s still heavy on the blues, very black and once again not for the faint hearted. I have just got to go to the real meat straight away with “My cards are on the table”, which is one of the finest tunes to surface in a million years of soul releases, it’s an epic stroller with a Bobby Bland feel, vocally and lyrically I doubt I will hear the likes again, yes yes yes it’s that good, I was moved to tears, swallowing repeatedly and just a tad embarrassed, but this is what we keep on searching for, music that moves us, and this has rocked me to my boots, it just builds and builds in its intensity – he’s a black man pleading as only he knows how too. I would love to say I will hear this out… well we’ll see.

Lee Fields came along and knocked this off its lofty perch for a few days but hey Sugar’s back on top. The title track, “Somebody save me”, comes a close second, it’s a scintillating ballad of some merit, strings consisting of Violin and Cello caressing the whole show, but well in the background just loud enough to comfort us all, what a stunning piece of music. Now into something totally different how good would it be to walk into a Northern room and hear “Is it me”, an on the fours dancer with everything needed to put bodies on the dance floor, incessant percussion, dominant bass, stabbing horn runs and mocking female backing, trust me this is brilliant – he’s probably never heard of Northern Soul and just doing what he feels is right, and it is so so right.

There’s another cracker on here in “You and I”, all very Stax/Atlantic in its feel, head nodding, foot tapping and it certainly registers in your head. This too is available on vinyl and CD. The rest of the album has its highlights with funky, bluesy compositions. I love it.

Brian Goucher

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Sugaray Rayford ‘The World That We Live In’ LP/CD (Blind Faith) 5/5