Saturday, January 07, 2006

Yeah, That's Right

Don't be suprised if the next time you hear angels singing there is a smooth and mellow baritone underpining the host of Hallelujahs and Hosannas. Lou Rawls passed away and with him goes a brilliant exmple of the once-common phenomenon of a Pop voice raised on Gospel Music. I don't hear much,if any Gospel in the current Urban Music artists , and I wonder if that influence will only be heard second or third hand from now on.

Rawls came up singing praise music and "crossed over" to Pop with a charmingly silky voice that caressed your ears and made you wish you were that cool.

What music fan didn't try to match the deep and sexy delivery of "You're Gonna Miss My Lovin'" when it came on the radio? Just singing the first line of the verse, "You'll never find...", in a deep voice sets my wife to smiling. And in how many other songs do you get to jam on an extremely rare "air piano", tapping out the confident lick that answers the opening vocal phrase?

According to his website, this was Lou Rawls' take on the shortcomings of disco, a style of music he never embraced, though others did at the time: "A lyric has to mean something to me, something that has happened to me. I try to look for songs people can relate to because I know the man on the corner waiting for the bus has to hear it and say, 'Yeah that's right.'". In an era when Popular Music lyrics make disco ditties sound like Cole Porter, that kind of artistic fortitude will be sorely missed.

Here was a guy you could listen to with your parents and both of them would agree that he was great. That puts Lou Rawls on a par with Sinatra in my house.

Unfortunately, the man on the corner waiting for the bus knows we'll never find a voice like that again.


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