Saturday, January 07, 2006

Lou Rawls Live!

Lou Rawls passed away yesterday at the age of 72 after a battle with lung cancer. I first remember hearing his distinctive voice signing "Let it be Lowenbrau" in the commercials that were popular when I was little. More recently his renditions of "Merry Christmas, Baby" and "The Little Drummer Boy" have been an essential part of my holiday season.

He is great on his albums, but to really experience the vocal power of Lou Rawls, you had to see him live. I regret that I never did, more so now that I have purchased the 2005 Blue Note re-issue of Lou Rawls Live! It was recorded in the LA Capitol Records studios over 2 nights in 1966 in front of a spirited live audience. Herb Ellis, Tommy Strode, Jimmy Bond and Earl Palmer joined Rawls for this special event, and they all delivered exceptional performances. (Click to preview on iTunes or Amazon).

If you are a fan of the blues or jazz vocals, I can't recommend this album highly enough. The dynamic, the soulful Mr. Lou Rawls will be missed.