Shoulda Been Home
After his great success with 1999's Take Your Shoes Off, Robert Cray sticks on the soul side with his follow-up, Shoulda Been Home (Ryko 10611; 52:50). Again produced by Steve Jordan (the great drummer who has toured and recorded with everyone from John Scofield to James Brown, the Neville Brothers and Keith Richards), this one plumbs the depths of the Memphis sound of '60s soul music, and Cray delivers passionately on smooth originals like "Already Gone," "Anytime" and the buoyant "Baby's Arms." Cray and his working crew also cover Mack Rice's Stax classic "Love Sickness" with requisite soul. The lone rollicking moment here comes on a raucous cover of the Elmore James classic "Cry for Me Baby." The rest of Shoulda Been Home is chock-full of great storytelling and old-fashioned Southern soul.