Smoky Music

A satisfactory combination of pop and blues.

A compilation of the band's snappier tracks over seventeen years starting 1980, this album promises pure blues music, tinged with pop.

Tunes trip off the piano, heavy beats off the drum and some excellent strains off the guitar in all the songs.

The collection is extremely male-oriented. Its songs continuously speak about infatuations, love, relationships, girlfriends and so on from a purely male perspective - a fact that makes the lyrics interesting.

The music brings to the imaginative mind a bar fitted with small round tables, drinks, a smoky haze and dim blue lights for atmosphere and this band up on a makeshift podium, strumming out its rhythmic, typically jazzy music to a group of customers who're lolling around, smoking cigars.

Infidelity is a reiterating theme in this collection. "Playing In The Dirt", "Right Next Door (Because Of Me)" and "I Guess I Showed Her" all talk about unfaithful partners.

"Phone Booth", "Forecast", "Consequences", "Bad Influence" - which has a good sax sequence and "Trick Or Treat" - which sports a dexterous ten fingers at the piano - are infectious. "I Was Warned" concludes with a minute or two of intricate, unadulterated guitar, supported by an unobtrusive drumbeat.

To the "Who-is-Robert-Cray?" species, I'd say try out this album if you yearn for an introduction to a new world of rhythm in which pop and blues are satisfactorily combined. For the rest, need there be any words spoken?

This article was first published on 12 Jul 2000.