Robert Cray came to prominence in the eighties with Strong Persuader. That album featured some great songs and is a classic in its way, but with its glossy sheen and the sterile production values reflective of that era, it sounds rather dated today. Soul music from the sixties and the first half of the seventies has stood the test of time far better, and is the inspiration behind this album. Cray had been moving in that direction on previous albums, most successfully on Sweet Potato Pie, but with this effort Cray really captures an authentic sound. What's interesting is that by going for a retro feel, Cray actually succeeds in creating a more modern ambience. Much of the credit goes to producer Steve Davis, the man Cray has used again recently on his In My Soul album.
The horn section arrangement for Love Gone To Waste is provided by the great Willie Mitchell, the man behind the Hi Records sound made famous by Al Green and Ann Peebles. That Wasn't Me and 24-7 Man look to Stax Records for inspiration, and Tollin' Bells is the only straight ahead blues number. I think Cray's version is as good as the original by Lowell Fulson.
Most of the tracks are excellent, with There's Nothing Wrong being particularly infectious. The only track which doesn't add much to the record is What About Me.
All in all, this record presents an increased maturity and attention to detail in the production values. The rather rock orientated drum sound which was present on most of his previous albums is gone, and Cray's voice is close miked for the first time. I'd recommend it to those who like the fusion of blues and soul and aren't so keen on blues-rock.