Wednesday, January 15, 2020

"Smoking Gun" by The Robert Cray Band

Song#:  3013
Date:  02/07/1987
Debut:  88
Peak:  22
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Blues-Rock

Pop Bits:  Guitarist Cray developed an interest in blues music at an early age. Although born in Georgia, his family ended up in Tacoma, Washington, and that is where Cray began to hone his skills. As 1974 rolled around, Cray was in Eugene, Oregon, and had formed the Robert Cray Band. Their reputation as a live act grew in the region and by 1980 they had recorded their first album, Who's Been Talkin'. As their audience grew, so did support from other blues and rock musicians and that helped their next two albums reach the lower rungs of the Pop Albums chart. Mercury Records saw potential in the group and signed them up. The band's fourth LP, Strong Persuader, would end up being their mainstream breakthrough. It was introduced by this first single, which became a major hit at Rock getting to #2. It then crossed over to the Pop chart where it nearly got inside the Top 20. The album would make it to #13 and would eventually sell over two million copies.

ReduxReview:  I had completely forgotten about this song. I don't think I've heard it since it was a hit back in the day. Cray co-wrote this blues-rock tune and it had just enough hooky pop/rock incorporated to make it palatable to a broader audience. With a few other bluesy acts doing well on the Pop chart, like Georgia Satellites and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the timing of this single was just about perfect. It was an easy groovin' tune with some nice guitar work from Cray.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The album would net Cray a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Blues Recording. However, this wasn't Cray's first Grammy win. Before recording Strong Persuader, Cray was asked to record an album with two other famous blues guitarists, Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland. The LP Showdown! was released by the trio in 1985. It was critically lauded and it ended up winning the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Recording. It would be the first of Cray's five Grammys from fifteen nominations (as of this posting date).


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