Larry McCray Band
Calgary Bluesfest (2012)
If contemporary blues has a longterm future as we boldly venture into the 21st century, it's very likely that guitarist
Larry McCray will play a recurring role in its ongoing development. His first two albums, Ambition and
Delta Hurricane, signal both a strong commitment to the tradition and the vision to usher the
genre in exciting new directions.
McCray's first influence on guitar was none other than his sister, Clara, who toured regionally around Arkansas
with her own combo, the Rockets. Clara never got to record her Freddie King-styled blues for posterity, but her little
brother has at least partially made up for that omission. Larry followed Clara up to Saginaw, MI, in 1972. She turned
him on to the joys of the three Kings (B.B., Freddie, and Albert), Albert Collins, and Magic Sam, and Larry added
superheated rock licks (à la Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers) to his arsenal as he began playing the local circuit
with his brothers Carl on bass and Steve on drums.
Working on General Motors' assembly line occupied a great deal of Larry McCray's time after he finished high
school. But he eventually found enough free hours to put together Ambition, his 1991 debut album for
Pointblank, in a Detroit friend's basement studio. The stunning set was a convincing hybrid of blues, rock,
and soul, McCray combining the interrelated idioms in sizzling fashion. Suddenly, the stocky young guitarist was
touring with label-mate Albert Collins. His 1993 Pointblank encore, Delta Hurricane, was a slicker affair
produced by veteran British blues maven Mike Vernon that McCray much prefers to his homemade debut. He followed
Delta Hurricane with Climbin' Up in 1995 and Meet Me At the Lake in 1996.
Born to Play the Blues appeared in 1998. Believe It was followed in early 2001.
-Bill Dahl, All Music Guide
Larry McCray Band