Robert Cray Band ‘In My Soul’ (Provogue) 5/5

Robert Cray BandRobert Cray the blues man, the jazz man and now with this his latest album we have the soul man, two fine funky chuggers lead us into the subtle mid pacer “Fine yesterday” which is worth the album’s purchase alone, had this arrived in time for the Soul Essence Weekender it would be anthem status by now but my supplier let me down and it wasn’t for sale at the weekender so I couldn’t get my hands on a copy. Very much in the rare groove/two step style but this is much better than the vast majority ever played under that banner. Moving on then we have the southern styled stroller “Your good thing is about to end” which could have surfaced way back in the day at the famed Royal Studios with Willie Mitchell and the crowd. For many the scintillating balladry of “Hold On” will be the reason you buy this album, it’s already getting attention from soul radio and will without doubt get wider recognition, once again this would have caused more than a stir in the ‘Jim Wray Lounge’ at Soul Essence, simply wonderful. A nod to Stax records next and the Booker T inspired “Hip Tight Onions” instrumental, if anyone is looking for an opener for there radio shows then this is it, a real throwback tune that works well. The album ends with a stunning deepie in the shape of Bobby Bland’s “Deep in my soul”, a constant play here at home, throughout this album the band a really tight and whilst Cray doesn’t appear to break sweat vocally, he’s in charge and has created an album that in years to come will be revered, potentially my album of the year, if not it will be there or there abouts. A superb mix of original material and cover versions.

Brian Goucher