“Right Next Door (Because of Me)”, the third song off of Robert Cray’s breakthrough 1986 LP Strong Persuader, is perhaps his finest song of his career, not only for his signature stylized guitar breaks, but for it’s turn-around of the typical blues narrative. Traditionally, the singer is the heartbroken, not the heartbreaker, but Cray turns in this tour-de-force of a performance based around how he broke up a relationship because he was such a “strong persuader” (where the album gets its title).
The song begins with an intimate description of an argument between a couple, before he admits he’s at fault and more than that, he didn’t care about the girl, she was just “another notch on his guitar”. Yet it’s to Cray’s credit that he doesn’t sound too glib talking about his bedroom successes, “Right Next Door (Because Of Me)” is also a vocal showcase for Cray, with an effortless glide along a Marvin Gaye croon. The video is deliciously 80’s, and Strong Persuader would play a huge role in bringing blues back into mainstream success. Strong Persuader was released November 1986 on Mercury Records