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Few blues artists have achieved as much crossover success as Robert Cray. Though it's not infrequent for blues purists to proclaim a dislike for his work, his skillful blend of blues, R&B, and soul has undeniable appeal. Heavy Picks is the first retrospective of Cray's recording career, tracing the route from his early, semi-independent recordings through his final dates for Mercury Records. The collection includes some of Cray's best material, including "Smoking Gun," "Playin' in the Dirt," and "Bad Influence," which testify to his strengths as a songwriter. One of the few blues musicians to have videos on MTV, Cray's style has a consistency that's helped ensure his longevity in the pop and blues arenas. At 14 tracks, Heavy Picks is also a nonintimidating introduction for newer fans. --Genevieve Williams
Bluesman and songwriter Otis Taylor has become famous as the architect of a uniquely sparse and hypnotic style that has become known as "trance blues". Joining him on 'Clovis People, Vol 3' are guitarist Gary Moore on a couple of tracks and pedal steel player Chuck Campbell, a member of the Campbell Brothers, as well as regular collaborators Ron Miles on cornet and daughter Cassie on bass and vocals.
This is Otis Taylor's seventh release on Telarc Blues and with each new recording he continues his experiments with different sounds, this time adding new elements such as the theremin, organ, violin and cello which are interspersed throughout the album. Inspired to re-visit some of his own early compositions by the discovery near his home of the 13,000 year-old remains of the Clovis civilisation they have been transformed with new arrangements. Also included are previously unrecorded compositions which have been hidden at the bottom of a drawer waiting for the right opportunity to be unveiled.
Otis Taylor is one of the leading interpreter's of contemporary blues and has a large following in the UK having supported guitarist Gary Moore on a number of UK tours.
JJ Grey & MOFRO's Alligator debut, Country Ghettofeatures 12 original JJ Greycompositions that come right out of the Southern musical and literary tradition. Grey's ear for detail inhabits his songs, whether it is a story passed down to him from his grandmother or the tribulations of a childhood friend. His voice delivers them with an unflinching strength that makes the personal universal and paints a vivid portrait of an exact time or place with words and music. Like his songs, his rich, soulful vocals are forceful and commanding, seemingly old beyond his years. And the music, from smoldering soul ballads to gospel-fried funk to straight ahead rock `n' roll, brings it all home with danceable grooves and a melodic freshness that will stay with you long after the album ends.
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