Friday, January 06, 2006

RIP Lou Rawls

The legendary soul/jazz/blues/gospel/pop baritone Lou Rawls has passed away at age 70 (or 72, depending on what report you read). Rawls started out with the legendary gospel group the Highway Q.C.'s and later did a stint with the Pilgrim Travelers. His '60s and '70s recordings for Capitol, MGM, Bell and Philadelphia International straddled the boundaries between pop, jazz, blues and soul, giving him hits with songs such as "Love Is a Hurting Thing," "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)," "A Natural Man" and "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine."

Lou's baritone was smoother than smooth; I will admit that sometimes I found it *too* smooth! (On some recordings I've felt like he was phoning it in.) But when he was "on," he was "on": his monologues that graced several Capitol hits and the excellent album Lou Rawls Live! were awesome; the sternness of "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)" makes his version the definitive one (no disrespect to the original artist, Mable John); and "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" was a tour-de-force. He was no slouch as a live performer, as the aforementioned live album and video from his appearances on various TV programs (especially "The Beat") show Lou to be a master showman.

Either later today or tomorrow I will post some of my favorite Rawls recordings. I'll try not to duplicate the material posted in some of the other blogs such as "Soul Shower" (see link at right), which have done Lou Rawls posts already.

Lou Rawls' excellent recorded work and his charitable endeavors will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

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