Robert Cray Band - Live from Across the Pond

The Robert Cray Band
Live from Across the Pond

(Nozzle / Vanguard)

First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2006, Volume 13, #11

Written by John Metzger

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Twenty-six years after issuing his debut, Robert Cray finally has gotten around to releasing a live album. Unfortunately, he might have waited a tad too long. Although he makes every attempt to push the bulk of the material to its limit, there are frustratingly long portions of the two-disc, 14-track Live from Across the Pond that sound like the work of a seasoned professional. The entirety of the affair was recorded during Cray’s recent engagement with Eric Clapton at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and for the most part, he and his backing band deliver the songs from the perspective of a support act that is so focused upon not making any major mistakes that it also fails to take any risks.

Although the songs on Live from Across the Pond are solidly performed, their emotional resonance is undercut by the formulaic sterility of Cray and his ensemble’s approach. Nevertheless, there are moments scattered throughout the set when the group springs to life. The title tune from Twenty, his recent studio endeavor, for example, is a haunting, mournful lament, and the concise, Sam Cooke-inspired radiance of Bad Influence provides the affair with a much-needed change of pace. Elsewhere, Cray’s blazing lead burns through the latter halves of 12-Year-Old Boy, I Was Warned, and The One in the Middle. Likewise, he and keyboard player Jim Pugh inspire each other, thereby igniting Our Last Time’s central jam. In the end, however, Live from Across the Pond is so safe and unassuming that it is as certain to appease Cray’s longtime fans as it is unlikely to win over his detractors. starstarstar

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Of Further Interest...

Eric Clapton - Back Home

Anthony Gomes - Live

John Lee Hooker, Jr. - Blues with a Vengeance

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Live from Across the Pond is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2006 The Music Box