Sugaray Rayford review…May 23, 2015…

SUGARAY RAYFORD

SOUTHSIDE

NIMOY SUE RECORDS  NIM 2

SOUTHSIDE OF TOWN–MISS THANG–LIVE TO LOVE AGAIN–TEXAS BLUESMAN–TAKE IT TO THE BANK–CALL OFF THE MISSION–ALL I THINK ABOUT–TAKE AWAY THESE BLUES–SLOW MOTION

Sugaray Rayford is known the world over as the lead singer for the Mannish Boys, who record for Delta Groove.  He has also released two prior solo albums, and his third just hit the streets.  It is entitled “Southside,” and it is nine fine original soul-blues cuts.

The big man with the bigger voice takes listeners on a cool musical journey, showcasing his ease with singing uptown soul or down-home blues, as most of these cuts have a smooth-and-soulful Memphis/Stax vibe.

The set starts as Suga tells us all about the best place to go to have a good time—“down on the Southside Of Town.”  Guitarist Gino Matteo brings the funk on the tale of a woman that every man knows, “Miss Thang.”  The “church women call her sassy,” but all the men just drool over “them big ‘ol hips!”  A soulful, Al Green-inspired story of repentance is “If I Live To Love Again, I’ll do it different.”  A clarion call for peace is the message in “Call Off The Mission,” because “we’re in no position to say what’s wrong or right!”  The set closes with a sweet, old-school “love jam,” the seven-minutes-of-bliss that is a lesson for lovers everywhere to take things in “Slow Motion.”

We had two favorites, too.  Suga is a sho’ nuff “Texas Bluesman,” and he’s proud of his heritage.  Thus, he name-checks all the great ones from the Lone Star State, from Lightnin’ Hopkins to SRV to the Iceman and several others in this swingin’ shuffle.  And, a cut that sounds as if it could have been recorded on Suga’s back porch starts off with everybody talking about fried chicken and singing in the church.  Then, Ray starts the vocal regarding his love skills, which are so good that you can “Take It To The Bank.”  This one has a cool Delta feel, and an extended country-blues harp solo from our good friend Bob Corritore.

Sugaray Rayford continues to find that perfect balance between uptown soul and juke joint grit.  You simply cannot go wrong takin’ a trip down to the “Southside.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

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