6 January 2006
Down here on the ground
The first time I heard Lou Rawls, I didn't know who it was; all I knew was that someone was singing some serious counterpoint to Sam Cooke on "Bring It On Home To Me," and I wondered if I'd hear him again.
That was in 1962, and I didn't know that Rawls had already been signed to Capitol, where he would record a series of jazzy R&B albums. He didn't chart a single until 1965, a version of the standard "Three O'Clock in the Morning," but the next year, the soulful "Love Is A Hurtin' Thing" proved that he could stay up a lot later than that.
Lou stayed with Capitol until 1970; his last hit for them was a cover of "Bring It On Home To Me," which makes perfect sense. He moved to MGM, then to Philadelphia International, where he discovered he could fit in beautifully with the Gamble-Huff machine's dance anthems.
Cancer hit Lou twice: his lungs in 2004, his brain in 2005. The combination of the two proved lethal in 2006. He will be remembered for a handful of movies, a lifetime of service, and a collection of memorable recordings. He was either 70 or 72; the number matters less than the fact that he was here.Posted at 11:32 AM to Tongue and Groove