Produced by the great Jay Graydon, with contributions by David Foster, it has become sort of an obscure “West Coast” classic. It embodies a mixture of typical 80’s synthesizer-pop and classic Rawls soul and jazz ballads, which seem to come from two different production camps, most likely in an effort to maintain Rawls current with pop music developments of the time and at the same time remain true to his fan base.
A smooth, often delightful album that kept Lou Rawls squarely in the love/romantic/mellow circle that he'd been scoring in throughout the late '70s. Gamble and Huff were really trimming the productions and keeping things laid-back and casual, while Rawls' emphatic, smoky vocals carried the day. They weren't getting huge pop hits, but were on the R&B charts steadily, and the album just missed the pop Top 40.
Double helping of 2 of Lou Rawls 80's albums recorded for Epic Records
From gospel and early R&B to soul and jazz to blues and straight-up pop, Lou Rawls was a consummate master of African-American vocal music whose versatility helped him adapt to the changing musical times over and over again while always remaining unmistakably himself. Blessed with a four-octave vocal range, Rawls' smooth, classy elegance – sort of a cross between Sam Cooke and Nat King Cole – permeated nearly everything he sang, yet the fire of his early gospel days was never too far from the surface…
Review by Tim Sendra
Since the passing of Lou Rawls in early 2006, Capitol has been working overtime to document the singer's career. First was a collection of early jazz and blues recordings, then a two-fer containing two of Rawls' best mid-'60s recordings, and now something that Rawls fans have never had before: a best-of collection that contains the man's hits from the '60s with Capitol and his '70s hits with Philadelphia International. It isn't the definitive collection that listeners deserve, as it skips over his early jazz and blues sides, his late-'60s big-band sessions with Benny Carter, and his '80s recordings on Blue Note — but it is a start. All the big hits are here, like "Dead End Street," "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing," "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)," and his biggest, "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine." Also included is a wide range of tracks that show just how impressive Rawls' gift truly was. Whether he is singing funky gospel ("Trouble Here Below"), smooth soul with a message ("Natural Man"), uptown soul ("You Can Bring Me All Your Heartaches"), disco ("Lady Love"), or lush pop ("Down Here on the Ground"), he sounds definitive and natural, like he could have sung just about anything and made it all his. The Very Best of Lou Rawls: You'll Never Find Another is a very fine introduction to the casual fan and a reminder to everyone that Lou Rawls was a true vocal giant.
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 the special joy of this collection, which finds this fine singer in mutually appreciative settings with a lineup of first-rank musicians.
Les McCann’s piano provides the most sympathetic of intros to “God Bless the Child,” with Leroy Vinnegar (bass) and Ron Jefferson (drums). Rawls himself is in peak voice, showcasing his rolling thunder baritone, which always radiates an innate optimism, no matter what he sings. On Benny Carter’s jumpin’ arrangement of “Nobody But Me,” Al Porcino and Bobby Bryant’s trumpets provide sunny brass for days as Rawls delivers a jubilant tribute to a “genuine Venus from her head to her feet.”
A live performance of “Goin’ To Chicago Blues” is typical of what became a signature style for Rawls: a talking intro to blues songs. Well, not merely "talking," exactly, because the rhythms of his poetically spoken beats could almost be heard as an a capella ancestor of hip-hop. As if the pot needed any sweetening, three previously unreleased 1963 tracks with Curtis Amy’s sextet are included; the swinging take on “Fine and Mellow” is particularly choice.-By Andrew Velez