Cray’s Crooners

Robert Cray, 2018 (Photo by Hreinn Gudlaugsson via Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0)

For as gifted a guitarist as Robert Cray is, the man’s affinity for soul singers goes wide and deep. Here are some of his favorites.

Otis Redding

(Sept. 9, 1941 to Dec. 10, 1967)

“Otis Redding was so hard driving—he sings a ballad as well that’s beautiful and it hits you to the core.”

O.V. Wright

(Oct. 9, 1939 to Nov. 16, 1980)

“Overton Vertis Wright was one of the very few people that can sing a ballad and take you through the story the way he did. He did it because he came from the church background and knew how to work it.”

Archie Brownlee

(1925 to Feb. 8, 1960)

“Archie Brownlee of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi has that piercing scream—that squall that he produced—the hairs are starting to rise on my arms just talking about him. I like the church-influenced singers.”

Bobby “Blue” Bland

(Jan. 27, 1930 to June 23, 2013)

“The tone in his voice was just so dynamic and it drives to your core. I love Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland.”

Sam Cooke

(Jan. 22, 1931 to Dec. 11, 1964)

“His melodic chops are beautiful and sweet and where he comes from is so influential to a lot of people.”

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Dave Gil de Rubio
In addition to being editor of Massapequa Observer and Hicksville News, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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