Sugaray Rayford is one of the singers with the West Coast-based Mannish Boys and fellow bandmates guitarist Franck Goldwasser, Randy Chortkoff on harp, bassist Willie J. Campbell and drummer Jimi Bott join him on this really good album, which also features guest appearances by guitarists Monster Mike Welch and Kid Andersen, harp players Kim Wilson and Sugar Ray Norcia and keyboard players Anthony Geraci and Fred Kaplan. It's not just about the sidemen though, Sugaray (who is originally from Texas) has a great voice which gives this record real authenticity rather than just being another album by West-coast-based session men.
We get off to a really good start with a rip-roaring "Country boy" featuring great harp from Sugar Ray Norcia, who shares lead vocals with Sugaray on the equally rocking "Two times Sugar", which features Monster Mike Welch on lead guitar. "I'm dangerous" is a wonderful Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters Chicago-style stop-time blues written by Randy Chortkoff and "Surrendered" is a nice slow Chicago blues. There is lots of variety here though with a brass section of Ron Dziubla and Mark Pender joining for jazzy readings of Pee Wee Crayton's "When it Rains It Pours" (with beautiful piano from Kaplan), Gatemouth Brown's "Depression Blues", which has nice guitar from Kid Anderson and Junior Parker's "In the dark". "Going Back To Texas" is a lovely slow, loping blues stolen from Otis Spann/Fleetwood Mac's "Hungry Country Girl", with the fabulous Kim WIlson on harp. There are also acoustic tracks namely "Need a Little More Time" and Son House's "Preaching Blues", both featuring Goldwasser on slide guitar. Sugaray handles all the different blues genres with real authority and style, with the band and the guests giving great support, providing telling solos but never taking the focus off Rayford himself. Randy Chortkoff and Jeff Scott Fleenor do a really good production job and this record must surely feature in the nominations for best Blues record of 2013.
on 3 February 2014
I love it, especially 'pretty Fine Mama' , 'I Might Do Somethin' Crazy' and the brilliantly gritty boogie ' Keep Her At Home' which is worth the money alone. What's there not to like? A larger than life character with great vocals,accompanied by great guitar work, great harmonica work, great horns and a seriously great rhythm section. The whole album is tight,solid and a pure joy for the ears and soul.