Rolling Stone (11/89) - Ranked #42 in Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums Of The Eighties" survey.
Q - Highly Recommended
Personnel: Robert Cray (vocals, guitar); Peter Boe (keyboards); Richard Cousins (bass); David Olson (drums); Lee Spath (percussion).
The Memphis Horns: Andrew Love (tenor saxophone); Wayne Jackson (trumpet, trombone).
Recorded at Sage & Sound and Haywood's, Los Angeles, California.
STRONG PERSUADER won a 1988 Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Recording.
1986's STRONG PERSUADER was a milestone both for Robert Cray and blues in the '80s. It earned Cray, a veteran of the Pacific Northwest blues scene, both his first solo Grammy and Top 30 hit ("Smoking Gun") along with a lift out of the blues ghetto which he'd been excelling in during recent years. As for the blues themselves, Cray infused fresh blood into a genre that had been limping along in that particular decade.
With a smooth singing style to go with an equally recognizable guitar tone, Cray developed a sound that owed as much to soul stylist O.V. Wright as it did to Texas guitarist Albert Collins (with whom Cray had won a Grammy along with Johnny Copeland the prior year). The use of the Memphis Horns strengthened the soul connection on songs such as the punchy "Nothing But A Woman" and the chugging effervescence of "Guess I Showed Her." Of course, Cray's heart lay in the blues and when he wasn't lamenting the woes of infidelity in "Right Next Door (Because Of Me)" and a bad break-up in "Still Around," his guitar playing smoldered throughout the forlorn "New Blood."