by Chris M. Slawecki
This twenty-song anthology delivers the definitive overview of Lou Rawls' vocal accomplishments before his late-1970s run with Gamble & Huff for Philly International records popped him into the mainstream.
Like so many other blues-influenced pop singers, Rawls begins right from The Source, the family church, through the opening Motherless Child, from The Soul Stirring Gospel Sound of the Pilgrim Travelers Featuring Lou Rawls (1962). Lovingly rendered with the Les McCann piano trio for Rawls' first record as a ...read more
by Andrew Velez
This document of Lou Rawls' decade with Capitol in the '60s celebrates the beginnings of the recently departed artist, one of the rare male vocalists with a big, beautiful sound who could sing his butt off. His professional beginnings were with the gospel group The Singing Travelers, and their 1962 recording of Motherless Child opens the disc. The essential enrichment provided by Eddie Beal (piano) and Rene Hall and Cliff White (guitars) is much more than mere accompaniment. Partnership is ...read more
by Chris May
Although they're included almost as a postscript to this gorgeous collection of jazz and gospel-inflected blues, the last three tracks on The Best Of Lou Rawls are headline news in themselves. Three previously unissued tracks featuring legendary trumpeter Dupree Bolton!!
Almost as under-recorded and unchronicled as Buddy Bolden, Dupree Bolton spent most of his adult life either with a monkey on his back or doing jail time under the USA's unenlightened drug laws. But his contributions to Harold Land's The ...read more
by Jim Santella
The emotional catch in Lou Rawls' voice and the unmistakable sound of his persona have long been staples of modern music: easy to love and comfortably familiar. When Rawls sings, everybody wants to absorb the lyrics. And following the message that accompanies each of his songs comes as natural as intimate conversation between two good friends.
When Rawls passed away in January, the world lost a troubadour who gave of himself every time out. He was a gentleman, ...read more
by C. Andrew Hovan
With a talent for versatility, Lou Rawls can sing just about anything from jingles for beer commercials to spirituals (check out a recent reissue of The Pilgrim Travellers Featuring Lou Rawls on Mighty Quinn). In some ways, this chameleon-like character can be more of a hindrance than an asset. It's meant that over the years his commercial endeavors, particularly from the disco era, have tended to overshadow earlier gems that reveal his way with a jazz or blues line. Yet ...read more