Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Robert Cray Band - "Smoking Gun"

Smoking Gun - Strong Persuader

(Debuted February 7, 1987, Peaked #23, 14 Weeks on the chart)

As a blues guitarist, Robert Cray didn't have the same look and feel of what was then considered to be the norm. He was young and his voice didn't carry that world-weary experience. However, "Smoking Gun" was about dealing with a lover's adultery, which is a very common topic in blues songs. Despite the depressing nature of the subject, the music is given an uptempo arrangement.

Among the lauded "new generation" of blues artists, Cray's influences ranged from the old-time bluesmen but also from Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and even The Beatles. Despite his relative youth, he had been performing with his own band for more than a decade before his major-label debut Strong Persuader, and was even part of Otis Day's band in the movie Animal House.

"Smoking Gun" would be Cray's only Top 40 pop single. He managed to get two more songs into the Hot 100 through 1988. Despite having no hit singles in more than 20 years and failing to chart any albums on Billboard's LP charts since 1999, he is still recording and touring and remains a big draw on the concert circuit.

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