The Same Love That Made Me Laugh - Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm

from the album Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm (2017)

Back in the mid-1980s, their were two bluesman who were grabbing the baton from the prior generation, recording great music, and introducing the blues to new listeners.  They were Buddy Guy and Robert Cray.

At the time, Buddy Guy had a greater appeal to me.  His take on Chicago Blues was filled with grit.  His legacy as a Chess Records sideman (and later star) put him in the room with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon, and Little Walter.  He was my guy.

Robert Cray, on the other hand, didn't share that same connection with my blues sensibilities of the time.  When I listened to Strong Persuader - and its monster hit Smoking Gun - I clearly recognized it as exceptional music, but still did not bond with it.  His music had a "velvet sheen" in its bass groove, drumming, and vocals.  I wanted grit.

Today, I have a completely different appreciation for the music of Robert Cray.  I have come to realize that his "velvet sheen" is soul, and that - although a legendary bluesman - his soul makes his music unique and special.  Soul is a god-given gift and Robert Cray has soul.

On his new album - Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm - he has teamed again with the incredible producer and drummer Steve Jordan to create a record steeped in Memphis soul.  They have pulled together many of the surviving Hi Rhythm sidemen to produce a timeless recording that beckons back to the great soul sounds of that great music city on the Mississippi.

I am really digging the opening track, The Same Love That Made Me Laugh.  A cover of a Bill Withers deep cut, this song brings out the best in Robert Cray.  The power of the bass groove, the crisp drumming, the tone of the keyboards, and that incredible voice.

I am so glad that my taste in music has evolved.

Click Here to listen to Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm cover Bill Wither's The Same Love That Made Me Laugh.

Click Here to listen to Bill Wither's original version of The Same Love That Made Me Laugh.