Album review: Robert Cray, Strong Persuader (1986)


By Steve Newton

When Robert Cray joined blues giants Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland for last year’s magnificent Showdown! album, it was as if the young guitarist had stepped out of nowhere to join the ranks of the blues’ top veteran performers.

With his new album, Strong Persuader, Cray proves once and for all that he is deserving of such a position.

From the opening track (and first single) “Smoking Gun”, straight on through to the other side’s closing tune “New Blood”, Cray creates the same kind of slinky, biting blues that has helped Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds gain prominence in recent years. Cray’s smooth vocals and electrifying fretwork are given sturdy back-up by bassist Richard Cousins, keyboardist Peter Boe, drummer David Olson, and the Memphis Horns.

If there’s someone on your list who’d like the blues for Christmas, Strong Persuader comes highly recommended.


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