This is more blues-based pop music that straight up blues, but who can argue with sales? And if you like listening to it, who cares what ya call it? I do like it and can appreciate that with this album, Cray tried to put the blues back in the rhythm & blues genre, but the critics loved it. Rolling Stone magazine featured him 3 or 4 times in late '86-early '87 and called him a "pioneer." Even cranky Robert Christgau gave the album of his ultra-rare A plus grades. Despite that kind of love from the critics and a strong media push, this album didn't lead to long-term crossover success for Cray and that's too bad. This isn't hard-hitting blues by any means (although Cray is perfectly capable of that, too), but this thing is so easy to listen to that it's a perfect gateway album for those people who want to add a little blues to their life (musically, not emotionally). After 28 years, it still sounds clean and fantastic, especially when you crank it up on some decent speakers (apologies to my neighbors this morning - you had to get up for work anyways, right?).
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #13
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #21
Tracks: the album opens with Cray's only Top 40 hit, Smoking Gun, which certainly states his case for what this album is all about and it's followed with the wonderfully Stax-infused I Guess I Showed Her. A great way to start an album. Other favorites include Nothin' But A Woman, More That I Can Stand, and Fantasized. No skippers here.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None
Previously revisited for the blog:
Shoulda Been Home (2001)