Sugaray Rayford: Human Decency Review

Sugaray Rayford returns with his latest album, Human Decency, released via Forty Below Records. Known for his big soaring vocals and blend of soul, blues and funk, Rayford collaborates once again with producer Eric Corne, continuing a partnership that has brought him significant acclaim in the soul/blues world.

Emerging from early success with The Mannish Boys, Rayford’s solo career took off with his breakthrough 2017 album, The World That We Live In. Born in Tyler, Texas, and raised on a diet of gospel and soul, Rayford’s music reflects his experiences with hardship and loss, with a decade in the Marines further shaping his perspective and inclination for social commentary. With Human Decency, he showcases his evolving, compelling sound in a fresh package.

The album opens with “Falling Upwards,” a burly mid-paced blues rocker. The track features a simple yet highly effective guitar riff, vibrant organ, and horns, a compelling lead break, and Rayford’s galvanizing vocals, making it a strong and engaging opener. The title track, “Human Decency”, shifts gears with a more pop-oriented, danceable structure but perhaps with slightly less punch.

“Stuck Between” brings a ridiculous amount of funk to the table, showcasing Rayford’s ability to groove. “Strawberry Hill” is another standout track, packed with funk, energy, and more of Rayford’s swaggering vocal delivery. “Hanky Panky Time,” is a bass-driven tune that keeps things interesting, while “Aha,” is an autobiographical, uplifting blues number that rounds out the album on a high note.

Rayford’s vocals are, without a doubt, the highlight of the album. His voice is rich and commanding, conveying emotion and energy throughout the record. However, the production on “Human Decency” is noteworthy. It is clear and crystalline without sounding sanitized, preserving the required rawness that allows the music to breathe and sound genuine. The mix also ensures that the bass is loud and audible, which is crucial for a record in this style.

Overall, Human Decency is a rock-solid effort from Sugaray Rayford, showcasing his strengths and delivering a powerful message wrapped in soulful melodies and funky grooves.

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Human Decency
– Stuck Between
– Aha
– Falling Upwards

The Big Hit

– Falling Upwards

Fidel Beserra

Fidel Beserra is a professional translator and an occasional writer. As one would expect, he's also an enthusiastic lover of everything music-related.

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