Robert Cray is considered one of the lasts remaining of the blues king’s era, besides Buddy Guy, Jimmy Vaughan, Robben Ford, and Clapton. Awarded with five Grammys, since the 1970s, he has played with several blues legends like Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland, the Vaughan brothers, and B.B. King. Throughout all these years, Cray has released more than 25 albums as a solo artist or on behalf of the “The Robert Cray Band”. The smooth voice and cleanness of Cray’s guitar tone are unmistakable and have become his registered trademark. Below are our selected top 10 songs by Robert Cray, which we think can represent, as much as possible, all his contributions to blues music.
10. “Nothin’ But A Woman”
This song is omnipresent on the 10/10 blues collection ever made. It’s a classic by Robert Cray that marked the whole 1980s. It’s part of Strong Persuader (1985) album.
9. “I Guess I’ll Never Know”
From the late harvest of Cray’s blues albums (In My Soul, 2014), “I Guess I’ll Never Know” keeps maintaining the finesse and balance between guitar and horns, as always showed in Cray’s previous albums.
8. “I Shiver”
First recorded on the album Shame + A Sin (1993), that’s another song where Cray doesn’t spare good taste and bluesy guitar vocabulary.
7. “Phone Booth”
“Phone Booth” is a song first recorded in 1983 by Albert King in I’m In A Phone Booth, Baby album. Robert Cray also released this song on the album Bad Influence (1983) and in 2003, in the album Heritage Of The Blues: Phone Booth.
6. “Poor Johnny”
From the album Twenty (2005), this song narrates the tale of Johnny, a man who cheated on his family to try to live another life with his new “friends”. It’s a bluesy ballad with a nice clean guitar solo.
5. “Smoking Gun”
One of the greatest hits by Robert Cray, also part of Strong Persuader album. This song reached # 2 on the Billboard Rock Album Tracks as a single in 1986. This song was re-released in the album Cookin’ In Mobile (2009).
4. “Back Door Slam”
This song is part of the album Time Will Tell (2003). “Back Door Slam” is a huge classic by Robert Cray, and this song was the inspiration for the name of Davy Knowles’ first band.
3. “Blues Get Off My Shoulder”
With the traditional horn section, vastly used by Cray in his records, this song is part of the album Nothing But Love (2012).
2. “You Move Me”
Another one from the album In My Soul. Unmistakable guitar tones, precise vocal lines, and cohesive bases. That’s the recipe for a successful song!
1. “Right Next Door” (Because Of Me)
Definitely, Strong Persuader was one of the most successful albums by Robert Cray. Besides other classics listed above from that album, “Right Next Door (Because Of Me)” was an absolute phenomenon in the 1980s. Its lyrics tell the story where Cray himself is the subject of a couple’s fight. It’s another Cray class on the subject of elegance, guitar tone, and notes selection.