Robert Cray - Sweet Potato Pie (Mercury) Nothing much changes with Robert Cray. The perennial blues guitar maestro seems content to be forever among the second rank of his profession: never likely to be a Buddy Guy artistically, or an Eric Clapton in the commercial league, and not aspiring to. Cray has ambled along now for donkey's years, ploughing the same furrow and never quite delivering a masterpiece. Nor does he break the habit here. His umpteenth album mixes flawlessly played up-tempo blues with gentle ballads of lost or tangled lurrrve . . . but you knew that already. If Cray has contributed anything original to the delta genre it is a recognisable individual style - although one that sometimes wanders off into easy-listening territory here, as on Simple Things. The record is slick, smooth to the point of blandness and utterly without surprises. But then again, you don't have to be shocking to make a decent record. Bluesmen observe a rich tradition: all their new ground was broken decades ago, so perhaps more than most they deserve to be taken at face value. Do that with Cray's latest effort, and you'll enjoy the sentimentality of The One In The Middle, the soulful Back Home and the searing guitar of the funky Nothing Against You. Robert Cray has the look of a young Cassius Clay. But he does not pack a similar punch.