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Robert Cray reviewed

Published: 12 Jul 2012 11:300 comments

Hailing from Columbus in Georgia, the blues legend that is Robert Cray brought his band to Sub89, in Reading, on Tuesday night and mesmerised the audience with a 90 minute unbroken set of pure American Blues.

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The five-time Grammy Award winner has played with John Lee Hooker, featuring on Hooker's 1996 chart single 'Baby Lee'.

His biggest solo single was released in 1986 when he reached Number two in the US mainstream chart with 'Smoking Gun'.

The support act was British blues artist Chantelle McGregor and her band warmed everyone up with her unique blues/rock brand before The Robert Cray Band walked onto the stage.

We were introduced by Robert himself before a more than 400-strong audience heard one of the best voices in the blues game.

Coupled with his prowess on the blues guitar - with moody minor and major 7ths - I left feeling privileged to have seen the gig.

The inevitable encore demanded by the crowd was played with enthusiasm by band members Tony Braunagel on the drums, Richard Cousins on the velvety bass and, my favourite, a very cool dude in the form of Jim Pugh on the piano and Leslie Speaker Hammond Organ.

I took my wife who is a bit of a blues 'love some of it/hate some of it' kind of girl and she thought it was the best live blues act she has seen - and I have dragged her round a few venues!

After the band had left the stage I was approached, quite randomly, by a middle-aged former rocker-looking type, who said to me: "Have you seen Robert before? Isn't he just the very best? His gigs are like a history of black American blues music all rolled up in one man."

Having seen the gig and wishing for more, I really do have to agree with him. If he comes back to Sub89, I will be first in the queue to try and get my front row ticket.

Looking at the flyers at the gig I will be keeping an eye on the acts coming to Sub89 as in the next couple of months there are gigs from Public Image Limited and Julian Cope, to name but a few. Check out www.sub89.com and see if there is anything coming up for you. Plus the beer was a decent price too!

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