I grew up listening to soul music, and was a big fan of the artists that Doug Gray states as his influences. This CD was recorded in the early 1980’s and certain parts have that feel to it and seem stuck in time but most of the songs are as valid today as they were when they were recorded.
The singer of The Marshall Tucker Band has turned his attention to music of a different style, dipped in the R&B of his and Toy Caldwells youth. The dip into soul by Doug forces MTB fans to face the fact that this band could easily have emerged as a soul band instead of a southern rock act. Let Me Be the Fool leads off the CD with straight ahead mid tempo soul rocker and then Sandman has a Delbert McClinton, Boz Scaggs feel to it as does Guilty with its straight ahead R&B.
Don’t Blame It On the Rain has a more pop approach but never loses its roots feel. Though the CD never really breaks new ground for R&B or soul music it certainly is a different feel than anything Marshall Tucker every did. Never Enough explores classic Soul sounds with a bit of slap funk. Turning it into an upbeat happy track, that is hard not to enjoy. The last track is a popular classic track and Doug does a solid version of it.
I listened to this album twice before really digging the grooves he laid down, but make no mistake about it, Doug Gray proves he could have been a soul singer as this CD is a fine addition to any collection. Especially soul music fans of the 70’s and 80’s should dig this music, but Marshall Tucker fans should take the plunge too as the backing band is superb and he had Toy playing lead guitar and to hear Toy Caldwell in this venue is as interesting as hearing Doug. This disc wears on you with each play and you will find yourself just digging the groove. Doug Gray is the Soul of the South.
Review by Vernon Tart