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Live From Across The Pond [2 CD]

21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 12, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Robert Cray's first live record in his 30-year career! Five-time Grammy winner and 12-time Grammy nominee Robert Cray and his fellow journeymen, touring over six months of every year, continue to provide audiences the world over with the kind of authentic, real music that keeps the band on top of its game. For the first time ever, Robert Cray's live performance is felt on CD. Performing on stages with such legendary artists as The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry and having his songs recorded by the likes of Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Albert King and Tony Bennett has helped make Robert Cray a mainstay in popular music. His recorded collaborations with Tina Turner, John Lee Hooker, Bonnie Raitt, Keb' Mo', B.B. King and Eric Clapton along with over a dozen best-selling albums have assured Robert continued visibility and prominence as a stellar musician and player of the first order.

Subtlety is both a blessing and curse for Robert Cray. In the studio, his increasingly restrained arrangements have served to frame his growing mastery of classic Memphis soul, allowing his soaring, vibrato-rich voice to carry tunes that directly echo the Stax years. That can work well live, too, and does so here in "Phone Booth" and the funky distillation "Back Door Slam," an ode to sexy down-home belters like Little Johnnie Taylor. But too often Cray downplays his incendiary guitar abilities on stage, which makes long numbers like "The One in the Middle" interminable, and leaves this two-disc live set--recorded during a week of shows opening for Eric Clapton at London's Royal Albert Hall in May 2006--full of cold spots. Things heat up whenever Cray picks up his Stratocaster in earnest, whether he's plucking out fat, singing notes à la Albert Collins in his radio hit "I Guess I Showed Her" or weaving a slow, soulful path through the bridge of the ballad "The Things You Do to Me," using his whammy bar and unpredictable variations on the melody to conjure shades of introspection. Overall, this set will please Cray's die-hard fans, but is unlikely to lure new listeners. --Ted Drozdowski

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Phone Booth
  2. Poor Johnny
  3. Our Last Time
  4. Right Next Door (Because Of Me)
  5. 12 Year Old Boy
  6. I Guess I Showed Her
  7. The Things You Do To Me

Disc: 2

  1. I Was Warned
  2. Twenty
  3. Bad Influence
  4. The One In The Middle
  5. Back Door Slam
  6. Time Makes Two
  7. I'm Walkin'

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Welk Music Group
  • ASIN: B000GY73IW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,699 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By metraton on March 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This isn't a review of the album, it's a review of Ted Drozdowski's (?) editorial review. I just heard Cray open for Clapton in Dallas a few nights ago. I didn't hear Cray downplaying his "incendiary" guitar abilities on stage, either in this album or the recent concert, as Drozdowski contends. B.B.King says he plays in "sentences." Cray is similar--but with longer, more complex sentences. Still, though, sentences. The contrast was startling when Clapton came out and played his melodic paragraphs. Neither is better. They're the unique voice of the respective artist. Cray is so smooth that the transition from vocal to guitar solo is seamless. He's always "incendiary," but it's often a slow burn.

Oh, and BTW, Cray doesn't have a "whammy bar." He plays a Strat with a hard-tail bridge (i.e., no tremelo).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Weinstock VINE VOICE on September 26, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Prior to the release of Robert Cray's breakout recording, "Strong Persuader," I happened to listen and record off the radio a live broadcast of the 1982 Long Beach Blues Festival among whose highlights was a young Robert Cray. One could hear a definite Albert Collins influence even if Cray's guitar playing didn't quite have Collins' fretful sound. Yet Cray's serpentine guitar playing had its own charms. Over two decades later, Cray remains one of the few blues acts to break through and reach a pop audience in that period. After many studio albums, Cray and his Band has just issued "Live From Across the Pond" from shows at Royal Albert Hall where he was opening for Eric Clapton. He perhaps has left behind the Jesse Fortune number "Too Many Cooks," but still performs "Phone Booth," and several songs from "Strong Persuader," including "Right Next Door (Because of Me)," "I Guess I Showed Her" and "Bad Influence," along with other numbers that he has added over the intervening years such as "Poor Johnny," and his anti-Iraq War number "Twenty" from his recent studio recordings. Perhaps because of his success, Cray has been criticized by some for the clean sound. Some would accuse his music of being antiseptic, although the performances here belie that claim as Cray does invest quite some passion into his performances. Cray's clean, urbane delivery of songs and his guitar playing should be viewed as more of style than relating to the substance of his performances. This music comes off much more successfully than the heavy metal sound of some blues rockers and comes off as a nice summing up of what he has meant musically for over two decades. A very nice release that will please his fans and even some who have shied away from his more recent work.

A footnote to the above review i my 4 stars should be viewed as a conservative rating (after all Amazon does not allow half stars) and not reflecting anything about this disc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bcaradine on August 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I had been eagerly awaiting a Robert Cray live disc when this beauty popped out at me at a Border's store. To be honest, at first I was disappointed. The first track 'Phone Booth' had the kinda funk groove that put the original studio version to shame. But after that, I struggled with the rest of the recording.

Thank heavens I stuck with the two disc set. This is the Cray lineup at its best live.

Throw away 'I Was Warned' as too noisy and 'Back Door Slam' as uninspired. But, the rest of the album shows a working band on the road giving its all opening for Clapton at the cavernous Royal Albert Hall.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By M. Moore on April 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I saw Robert Cray on this tour and have seen him more than 10 times. We just him opening for Clapton last month. Sadly, his live shows get duller every year. He seems to be stuck playing these mid-tempo songs from his playbook that just aren't that interesting. Phone Booth and Our Last Time are slowed down to the point where they have lost whatever charm they once possesed. Songs such as Bouncin Back, Consequences, Picture of a Broken Heart, or Survivor would have made a much stronger playlist.

There are some bright lights on this album: I Was Warned and Time Makes Two are riveting and intense. It is time for Cray to get some new collaborators as he and his longtime band have settled into a deep and somnambulent rut.

There are many better ways to enjoy Cray's music than this. I strongly recommend Strong Persuader and I Was Warned as the best ways into his songbook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chris Hart on May 15, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of Robert Cray's from the earliest days (yes, I'm that old <g>). His shows don't have the same energy they did years ago, but hey we all age. If you are a fan, you probably already have this, but if you're on the fence, I wouldn't call it a "must have." But it you are someone who is adding Cray to your library for the first time, this would be a good choice. Because it covers the spectrum of his career and allows you to hear what it's like when you see him live. My only criticism of this recording is with regard to the drums. The sound of the cymbals on the overhead mics is really annoying. Every time they are hit, all I can hear is the doppler effect swishing and it's very distracting. Either these mics should have been set further back into the mix, or the original sound guy should have positioned these mics higher up. When I listen at a low volume, the sound is tolerable. But when I turn it up, I can usually only listen for 3 or 4 songs before those cymbals drive me nuts. But I have more sensitive ears than most folks and I'm probably in a tiny minority of folks who will notice this. But I had to mention it, because for this big fan it really does ruin the show!
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