Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Strong Love Affair
Genres: Blues, Pop, R&B, Rock
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Craig Nickerson | Boston, MA USA | 08/02/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On the whole, not a bad album. So, why do I give it 4 stars out of 5? For two reasons: "Say No More" and "Angelina".The latter I first heard when Ray performed it in concert. It expresses the grief of a man who has lost his wife (or lover) to terminal illness. Out of all the songs he did that night--including the great classics "What'd I Say", "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Hit The Road, Jack"--"Angelina" is the one I remember most vividly. One phrase in particular, and the way Ray sang it, will always echo in my mind: "Angelina, to God for you I prayed." Here, he demonstrates his ability to capture so perfectly the sense of bereavement in a song of farewell written by someone else, in a performance that ranks with Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" and Annie Haslam's "A Thousand Angels".Not long before that show, I had been blown away by "Say No More" when it was played on a local folk/roots radio station. The classical, almost ethereal sound of the intro was totally unexpected given the rhythm-and-blues format of the program, and when Ray's singing began, I said to myself, "God, this man can do it all!" What a flawless, atmospheric masterpiece of bittersweet reflection! (I was sure that Brendan Perry wrote the song--he didn't, but if you enjoy performances in this vein, suggest you check out his album EYE OF THE HUNTER.)These two gems have greatly increased my respect for this original author of Soul, this giant among musical innovators.One interesting note about the production--anyone remember Toyah, the British "Punk Princess of Pop" from the early 80's? After her original band was sacked, one of the new recruits was then-unknown bassist/songwriter Phil Spalding, who made his debut on her 1981 best-seller ANTHEM. Since then, Phil has recorded and/or toured with Mike Oldfield, been a member of the short-lived supergroup GTR (with Steve Howe and Steve Hackett), and become a much-in-demand session man in a class with Tony Levin and Leland Sklar. Lo and behold! here he is on STRONG LOVE AFFAIR playing behind, and writing for, the immortal Brother Ray! Phil's authorship credits (with Richard Niles) in this set are "All She Wants To Do Is Love Me", "No Time To Waste Time" and "Everybody's Handsome Child".One hopes that "Say No More" and "Angelina" will one day be part of a compilation of Ray's best work of recent years. Until then, get this album if you can!"