Lou Rawls – Nobody But Lou / Lou Rawls and Strings (2002)

Lou Rawls - Nobody But Lou & Lou Rawls and Strings (2002)
Artist: Lou Rawls
Album: Nobody But Lou / Lou Rawls and Strings
Genre: Soul, R&B, Vocal Jazz
Label: Collectables
Released: 2002
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)
Nobody But Me [02:42]
Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall [02:08]
Whispering Grass [02:42]
Two Tickets West [03:41]
It’s Monday Every Day [03:40]
The Power Of Love [02:30]
If I had My Life To Live Over [02:47]
For You My Love [03:17]
If It’s The Last Thing I Do [02:47]
Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You [02:18]
Blues For The Weepers [03:48]
What’ll I Do [02:25]
My Buddy [02:34]
Du Bist Die Liebe [02:40]
Margie [02:51]
Now And Then There’s A Fool Such As I [02:12]
Three O’Clock In The Morning [02:50]
Me And My Shadow [02:26]
Cold, Cold Heart [02:19]
I’ll See You In My Dreams [02:15]
Charmaine [02:34]
Nothing Really Feels The Same [02:47]


Lou Rawls made five albums for Capitol Records between 1962 and 1965 before achieving commercial success in 1966. This discount-priced two-fer combines the fourth and fifth of those albums. In them, one gets a glimpse of the evolution of Capitol’s view of Rawls as a singer. Rawls himself doesn’t change, as ever applying his deep, rich voice and swinging manner to the material, but the music around him does change. Although both albums employ jazz veteran Benny Carter as arranger/conductor, Carter seems to have had different marching orders for each one. On Nobody but Lou, he has organized a big band à la Count Basie for a set of charts that emphasize Rawls’ similarity to former Basie vocalist Joe Williams. This is a hard-swinging session, with plenty of room for instrumental soloing and arrangements that echo the up-tempo blues style of Williams’ hits like “Everyday I Have the Blues.” At times, if you didn’t know who was singing, Williams would be your first guess. Nobody but Lou didn’t sell, but Rawls did get a minor chart entry in 1965 with a revival of the 1920s standard “Three O’Clock in the Morning,” which seems to have inspired Capitol to authorize a full-length album in the same vein. Lou Rawls and Strings finds Rawls performing a bunch of other ’20s songs and a couple of tunes from the ’50s accompanied by horns, strings, and a vocal chorus. Carter manages to make things swing now and then, but this is a much more pop-oriented set than its predecessor, even though Rawls makes repeated attempts to customize the material to his own purposes. Together, these albums show a Lou Rawls in his late twenties looking for a style to call his own. He doesn’t quite succeed, but there is some good music nevertheless.
Review by William Ruhlmann

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