Thursday, July 26, 2012

Robert Cray - Smoking Gun

One of a handful of artists who helped reinvigorate the blues genre was Robert Cray.  In fact, his 1986 major label debut, Strong Persuader, played a key role in bringing an updated, mellow form of the blues back into the mainstream.  As a result, no less an authority than Rolling Stone magazine placed this album 42nd on its list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s.

Cray was in his early 30s when Strong Persuader was released, making him a younger spokesman for the blues.  And while some saw his mellow sound and commercial success as signs of a sellout, most critics viewed him as an artist who successfully brought the blues back to relevance in the 1980s.

"Smoking Gun" was the big hit off the album, and turned out to be Cray's only top 40 hit (yes, there sure are a lot of great musicians on this blog who are official one hit wonders).  The song peaked at #22 in 1986, while the album hit lucky #13.  The video tires to capture a performance vibe, with mixed success.

Cray would never match the success of Strong Persuader, but he has had a long, solid career, and continues to record and perform to this day.

Cool trivia fact:  Robert Cray played bass in Otis Day and the Knights' band in National Lampoon's Animal House.

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