4 Nights of 40 Years Live (2015)

The Robert Cray Band

Four nights lit up by a guitar-shaped moon and the soft touch of the blues massaging your ears. Forty years commanding a Stratocaster crammed into four nights. This is the life of Robert Cray, one of the few musicians who not only knows how to play guitar, but also puts their heart and soul into their craft. A magical mix of soul and rock - the backing track of his youth. The first and hopefully not the last, as at the tender age of 60 (born 1st August 1953), he is a legend that still has a lot more left to give.  

4 Nights
… is by no means a testament, but more of a look back after four decades, before continuing on his journey, leaving a trail of twenty-something albums and countless nights on stage on tour with his faithful Fender (now with his name scribbled alongside its serial number) behind him. Neither is this your common or garden compilation album or a greatest hits, or just another live album. It's more of a tribute, above all to his fans – especially so with the DVD that comes with the pack, where you will find a great deal more than just music: Titbits and carefully chosen interviews that make it a 'must-have' for all his disciples.

This double CD is a meandering journey that crosses back and forth between the past and the present. The first disc brings together some of his biggest hits, such as Smoking gun, with which he set the night on fire four nights running in Los Angeles scarcely a year ago, in December 2014. Keeping him company were his present band: bass player Richard Cousins, at his side for what seems like forever; drummer Les Falconer; and a survivor from his first album, Dover Weinberg on the keyboards. There was also a formidable wind section - not your run-of-the-mill blues deal, but starring the legendary Steve Madio, a man who has played with Stevie Wonder, among others.

This very same wind section does the business in the The Fabulous Thunderbirds' song, Wrap it Up, which is sung by Kim Wilson himself, a man and his harmonica very much in demand as a special guest to liven concerts up, as he did for his friend Robert Cray.

The second disc is a return to one of the sweetest moments of his career, represented here by some Dutch 1980's television footage. However, the authentic gems to be found on this bonus disc and almost more interesting than the principle, were recorded at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1982, when he was just 28 years old, with Too many cooks and T-bone Shuffle, two songs that would help him on his journey to fame and fortune.

This is the decade of Strong Persuader, an album that confirmed the young rhythm and blues artist as one of the greats and, as can be appreciated if we compare both CDs, before things calmed down. Without doubt a delight to the ears both for his devoted followers and also those who wish to get to know this maestro of the blues guitar better.