Who was/is Robert Cray ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Robert Cray

Anointed the primary savior of the blues by the mainstream press, guitarist Robert Cray had the looks, the voice, and the guitar chops to do the trick. The Beatles were Robert's original inspiration for taking up the guitar in fifth grade, but he got hip to Albert Collins (who played at his high school graduation!), O.V. Wright, and a plethora of other blues and soul greats, greatly impacting his musical maturation.

"That comes from listening to a lot of different kinds of music, and being a big fan of R&B singers and gospel singers," says the Stratocaster-wielding Cray. "I'm not torn between the two, but I enjoy the two."

Born August 1, 1953 in Columbus, Georgia, Cray was an Army brat who grew up all over the country before his family settled in Tacoma, Washington in 1968. Cray and bassist Richard Cousins put together a band in ‘74 and backed up Collins before going on their own. Producer Bruce Bromberg caught the young band, co-fronted by harpist/vocalist Curtis Salgado, in San Francisco at the 1977 NAIRD Convention.

"They're going along and they're playing these songs, and it's kind of cool because it's some soul stuff, not what most blues bands were doing in those days," says Bromberg. "All the covers were fairly obscure. And then Robert sang a couple. He was playing a Gibson in those days. The first album was made on a Gibson, not on a Strat. He sang like two songs, and my bell rang, man. I said, 'Oh, man!'" Work soon began on Cray's debut album ‘Who's Been Talkin',' which came out on the Tomato label in 1980. "They didn't really have any originals. I think Curtis had like one song. I told 'em, 'You ain't gonna get anywhere singing other peoples' songs,'" says Bromberg. "I flew Robert down for a few days, tried to write some songs with him, and then cut him with some local guys."  Salgado shared vocal duties on the set.

Tomato soon folded, and the Robert Cray Band's head-turning 1983 encore album ‘Bad Influence' was released on Bromberg and Larry Sloven's fledgling HighTone label. Only two covers this time with a set of uniformly great originals, and Salgado was gone so Cray sang them all. "We didn't have any money," says Bromberg, who co-produced with Dennis Walker. "Their road manager had some money, and he loaned us money to do the first sessions. They would come in off the road, and we'd just take 'em to some little room and cut the stuff pretty much live." ‘False Accusations,' their next HighTone set in 1985, kept momentum building. 

With the 1986 emergence of Cray's ‘Strong Persuader' album on Mercury rather than HighTone (major label acceptance at last), Cray embraced mainstream stardom, fueled by regular play on MTV (Cray's handsome visage was as easy on the eyes as his pop-accessible blues/soul hybrid was on the ears). "‘Strong Persuader' just took off; sold like 100,000 in two weeks," says Bromberg. The set was cut in Los Angeles, Bromberg and Walker producing and the band now made up of Cray, Cousins, keyboardist Peter Boe, and drummer David Olson, bolstered by the Memphis Horns. The smoldering Smoking Gun, penned by Cray, Cousins, and Bromberg, was a #22 pop hit in early '87, and ‘Strong Persuader' sold platinum and won a Grammy. Now the Robert Cray Band was selling out concert halls.

"It was real scary," laughs Cray. "Because coming out of the clubs, everything started happening really quickly, when the 'Strong Persuader' thing came out. We were kind of like, 'What the hell is going on here?'" Cray hasn't let up since. He remains one of the idiom's top-selling artists. He and Bromberg long ago parted ways, but his ex-producer sees Cray as more than a sexy, soulful singer. "I still think he never gets credit for being as great a guitar player as he is," says Bromberg. "Whatever we did, it was a new sound at the time."

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois

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More information about Robert Cray on Wikipedia.org

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4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (1-Blu-ray,2-CD)
Robert Cray: 4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (1-Blu-ray,2-CD) Art-Nr.: BLRYPRD74639

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(2015/Provogue) CDs: 19 tracks, Bluray: 17 tracks.. Contemporary blues icon Robert Cray will be celebrating his 40 years of performing with an incredible live release, '4 Nights of 40 Years Live' on 28th August 2015. This live album was...
$22.58
In My Soul (LP, colored Vinyl, Ltd.)
The Robert Cray Band: In My Soul (LP, colored Vinyl, Ltd.) Art-Nr.: LPPRD743612

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(Mascot Music) 10 tracks, colored vinyl in light blue, limited edition. In My Soul is the seventeenth studio album and his second on Provogue for 5-time Grammy winner, 15-time Grammy nominee and multi-platinum selling artist Robert Cray....
$30.50
In My Soul
Robert Cray: In My Soul Art-Nr.: CDPRD74362

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(2014/Provogue) 11 tracks. (ltd. Edition) " In My Soul " is the 17th studio album of 15 times nominated and five -time Grammy winner . " In My Soul " , was produced by the American multi-instrumentalists and longtime friend Cray , Steve...
$22.58
Collected (3-CD)
Robert Cray: Collected (3-CD) Art-Nr.: CDMOCD2156

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(Music On CD) 54 tracks, digipack Robert Cray is an influential American blues guitarist and singer who has already won over a wide audience with several chart relevant songs such as Right Next Door (Because Of Me) or Don't Be Afraid Of...
$28.24
Collected (2-LP, 180g Black Vinyl)
Robert Cray: Collected (2-LP, 180g Black Vinyl) Art-Nr.: LPMOV2379B

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(Music On Vinyl) 23 Tracks - Deluxe Klappcover - Robert Cray is an influential American blues guitarist and singer who has already won over a wide audience with several chart relevant songs such as Right Next Door (Because Of Me) or...
$39.55
Nothin But Love (LP, colored Vinyl, Ltd.)
The Robert Cray Band: Nothin But Love (LP, colored Vinyl, Ltd.) Art-Nr.: LPPRD737712

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(Mascot Music) 10 tracks, colored vinyl in light blue, limited edition. Open ears and an open mind are the essence of singer, guitarist and songwriter Robert Cray, whose career has spanned from the roots of blues to the peaks of rock,...
$30.50
Authorized Bootleg - Live Outdoor Concert
Robert Cray: Authorized Bootleg - Live Outdoor Concert Art-Nr.: CD2732378

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In those days the Robert Dray Band was hot! 'Smoking Gun' had just charted. This professional live recording of an outdoor show was produced and recorded for legendary 'King Biscuit Flower Hour' radio program. Excellent. ROBERT CRAY -...
$18.96
Cookin' In Mobile  (CD-DVD)
Robert Cray: Cookin' In Mobile (CD-DVD) Art-Nr.: CD78073

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Robert Cray with his phantastic current band line-up. He's in good shape, professional, entertaining. He is a great singer and accomplished, tasteful guitar player, and his band is absolutely top notch. Perfect recording and filiming....
$21.22
This Time
Robert Cray: This Time Art-Nr.: CD79960

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(2009 'Nozzle Records') (48:09/09) Digipak. - ROBERT CRAY - gtr/voc, JIM PUGH - kbds, RICHARD COUSINS - bass, TONY BRAUNAGEL - drums.
$18.96
Who's been Talkin'
Robert Cray: Who's been Talkin' Art-Nr.: CDNE34572

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Their groundbreaking first record. Great line-up featuring the outstanding Curtis Salgado on harmonica. This is a 'real' blues album, the foundation for Cray's later fame. It contains his essential re-workings of 'Too Many Cooks', and...
$7.64 $16.92
Collection
Robert Cray: Collection Art-Nr.: DVDCR025

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Code free 60 min.
$18.96
Nothin But Love
Robert Cray: Nothin But Love Art-Nr.: PRL73771

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(2012) Provogue
$22.35
This Time
Robert Cray: This Time Art-Nr.: VAN79960

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(2009) Nozzle Records
$29.37
Twenty
Robert Cray: Twenty Art-Nr.: CD590368

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$14.43
Strong Persuader
Robert Cray: Strong Persuader Art-Nr.: APB50

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(2013) Analogue Prod., 10 tracks
$42.95
In My Soul
Robert Cray: In My Soul Art-Nr.: PRL74361

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(2014/Provogue) 10 tracks. " In My Soul " is the 17th studio album of 15 times nominated and five -time Grammy winner . " In My Soul " , was produced by the American multi-instrumentalists and longtime friend Cray , Steve Jordan, who...
$24.84
4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (2 CD + DVD)
Robert Cray: 4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (2 CD + DVD) Art-Nr.: CDPRD74635

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(2015/Provogue/ CDs: 19 tracks, DVD: 17 tracks. Contemporary blues icon Robert Cray will be celebrating his 40 years of performing with an incredible live release, '4 Nights of 40 Years Live' on 28th August 2015. This live album was...
$21.45
4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (2-LP)(180g)
Robert Cray: 4 Nights Of 40 Years Live (2-LP)(180g) Art-Nr.: LPPRL74631

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(2015/Provogue) 13 tracks. Contemporary blues icon Robert Cray will be celebrating his 40 years of performing with an incredible live release, '4 Nights of 40 Years Live' on 28th August 2015. This live album was recorded at Venture,...
$30.50
Live At Redux Club In Houston, TX January 21, 1987 (LP, Vinyl 180g)
Robert Cray: Live At Redux Club In Houston, TX January 21,... Art-Nr.: LPDOR2063

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(2016/Dol) 11 tracks. Feat. Stevie Ray Vaughan
$18.05
Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (CD)
Robert Cray: Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (CD) Art-Nr.: CDJV2017

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(2017/Jay-Vee) 11 tracks. In collaboration between the excellent producer Steve Jordan and the extraordinary talent Robert Cray, the new work 'Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm' shows a special symbiosis that revives the old times of the legendary...
$19.18
Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (LP)
Robert Cray: Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (LP) Art-Nr.: LPJV2017

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(2017/Jay Vee) 11 tracks. In collaboration between the excellent producer Steve Jordan and the extraordinary talent Robert Cray, the new work 'Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm' shows a special symbiosis that revives the old times of the legendary...
$28.24
Collected (2-LP, 180g Red Vinyl, Limited & Numbered)
Robert Cray: Collected (2-LP, 180g Red Vinyl, Limited &... Art-Nr.: LPMOV2379

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(Music On Vinyl) 23 Tracks - Deluxe Klappcover - Robert Cray is an influential American blues guitarist and singer who has already won over a wide audience with several chart relevant songs such as Right Next Door (Because Of Me) or...
$36.16
That's What I Heard (LP)
Robert Cray: That's What I Heard (LP) Art-Nr.: LPNOZZLE72197

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(Nozzle) 12 tracks. Thirty Tigers artist Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for the past four decades, with five Grammy wins and over 20 acclaimed albums. His latest album, That's What I Heard, was...
$25.97
That's What I Heard (CD)
Robert Cray: That's What I Heard (CD) Art-Nr.: CDNOZZLE72098

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(Nozzle) 12 tracks. Thirty Tigers artist Robert Cray has been bridging the lines between blues, soul and R&B for the past four decades, with five Grammy wins and over 20 acclaimed albums. His latest album, That's What I Heard, was...
$16.92
Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (CD)
The Robert Cray Band: Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (CD) Art-Nr.: CDMOC13870

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(Music On CD) 10 tracks “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark” is a solid release from the veterans of the Robert Cray Band. The songs are consistently strong and Robert Cray is at the top of his game, his smooth vocals, stinging guitar work and...
$14.66