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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A (mostly) early list of tunes from Mr. Lou Rawls....God, he could swing!!

Lou Rawls
Louis Allen "Lou" Rawls (December 1, 1933 – January 6, 2006) was an American soul, jazz, and blues singer. He was known for his smooth vocal style: Frank Sinatra once said that Rawls had "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game". Rawls released more than 70 albums, sold more than 40 million records, appeared as an actor in motion pictures and on television, and voiced-over many cartoons.

Rawls is the subject of an upcoming biopic, tentatively titled Love Is a Hurtin' Thing: The Lou Rawls Story. Rawls' son, Lou Rawls Jr., is the author of the script. Rawls will reportedly be portrayed by the actor Isaiah Washington. Rawls' favorite expression was "Yeah buddy!"

Rawls was born on December 1, 1933 in Chicago and raised by his grandmother in the Ida B. Wells projects on the city's South Side. He began singing in the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church choir at the age of seven and later sang with local groups through which he met future music stars Sam Cooke, who was nearly three years older than Rawls, and Curtis Mayfield.

After graduating from Chicago's Dunbar Vocational Career Academy, he sang briefly with Cooke in the Teenage Kings of Harmony, a local gospel group, and then with the Holy Wonders. In 1951, Rawls replaced Cooke in the Highway QC's after Cooke departed to join The Soul Stirrers in Los Angeles. Rawls was soon recruited by the Chosen Gospel Singers and himself moved to Los Angeles, where he subsequently joined the Pilgrim Travelers.

In 1955, Rawls enlisted in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He left the "All-Americans" three years later as a sergeant and rejoined the Pilgrim Travelers (then known as the Travelers). In 1958, while touring the South with the Travelers and Sam Cooke, Rawls was in a serious car crash. Rawls was pronounced dead before arriving at the hospital, where he stayed in a coma for five and a half days. It took him months to regain his memory, and a year to fully recuperate. Rawls considered the event to be life-changing.

Alongside Dick Clark as master of ceremonies, Rawls was recovered enough by 1959 to be able to perform at the Hollywood Bowl. He was signed to Capitol Records in 1962, the same year he sang the soulful background vocals on the Sam Cooke recording of "Bring it on Home to Me" and "That's where it's at," both written by Cooke. Rawls himself charted with a cover of "Bring it on home to me" in 1970 (with the title shortened to "Bring It On Home").

Rawls' first Capitol solo release was Stormy Monday (a.k.a. I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water), a jazz album, in 1962. On August 21, 1966, he opened for The Beatles at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

Though his 1966 album Live! went gold, Rawls would not have a star-making hit until he made a proper soul album, appropriately named Soulin', later that same year. The album contained his first R&B #1 single, "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing". In 1967 Rawls won his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, for the single "Dead End Street."

In 1969, the singer was co-host of NBC's summer replacement series for the Dean Martin Show along with Martin's daughter, singer Gail Martin.

After leaving Capitol in 1971, Rawls joined MGM, at which juncture he released his Grammy-winning single "Natural Man." He had a brief stint with Bell Records in 1974, where he recorded a cover of Hall & Oates' "She's Gone." In 1976, Rawls signed with Philadelphia International Records, where he had his greatest album success with the million-selling All Things in Time. The album produced his most successful single, "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine", which topped the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts and went to number two on the pop side, becoming Rawls' only certified million-selling single in the process.

Subsequent albums, such as 1977's When You Hear Lou, You've Heard It All yielded such hit singles as "Lady Love". Other releases in the 1970s included the classic album Sit Down And Talk To Me.

Rawls' 1977 Grammy Awards performance of "You'll Never Find" was disrupted by a coughing fit.

In 1982, Rawls received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Sang the lyrics to WGN-TV's 1983 "Chicago's Very Own" ad campaign, a slogan that the station still uses to this day.

In 1989, he performed vocals for "The Music and Heroes of America" segment in the animated television miniseries This is America, Charlie Brown.

On the night of September 29, 1977, Rawls performed the national anthem of the United States prior to the Earnie Shavers-Muhammad Ali title fight at Madison Square Garden. He would be requested to sing the anthem many times over the next 28 years, and his final performance of it came on October 23, 2005. The crowd at that performance may not have known that Rawls was extremely ill with cancer, but he reportedly delivered an electrifying performance to kick off Game Two of the 2005 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros at U.S. Cellular Field in his hometown of Chicago.

In 1980, Rawls began the "Lou Rawls Parade of Stars Telethon" which benefits the United Negro College Fund. The annual event, known since 1998 as "An Evening of Stars: A Celebration of Educational Excellence", consists of stories of successful African-American students who have benefited from and/or graduated from one of the many historically black colleges and universities who receive support from the UNCF, along with musical performances from various recording artists in support of the UNCF's and Rawls' efforts. The event has raised over US$200 million in 27 shows for the fund through 2006.

In January 2004, Rawls was honored by the United Negro College Fund for his more than 25 years of charity work with the organization. Instead of hosting and performing as he usually did, Rawls was given the seat of honor and celebrated by his performing colleagues, including Stevie Wonder, The O'Jays, Gerald Levert, Ashanti, and many others. His final television performance occurred during the 2005-2006 edition of the telethon, honoring Stevie Wonder in September 2005, just months before entering the hospital and after having been diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year. This program, aired in January, 2006, contains his final public television performance, where he performed two classics, "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," and a final ode to Frank Sinatra with, "It Was A Very Good Year."

At the time of Rawls' death, news and UNCF figures noted the significance of Rawls' final performance, "It Was a Very Good Year." The song is a retrospective of one's life and its lyrics include, "When I was seventeen, it was a very good year. It was a very good year for small town girls and soft summer nights...And now those days grow short, it is the autumn of years, and now I think about life as vintage wine from fine old kegs, from the brim to the dregs, it pours sweet and clear, it was a very good year."

Rawls appeared in a segment of the first season of Sesame Street, to sing the alphabet. He dismissed the concept of using cue cards for the performance, but reversed such decision when he forgot the order of the letters.

Throughout Rawls' singing career, he had the opportunity to appear in many films, television shows, and commercials. He can be seen in such films as Leaving Las Vegas, Blues Brothers 2000, and Angel, Angel, Down We Go. He had a supporting role in the Baywatch spin-off, Baywatch Nights. He also appeared in the western television series, Big Valley, (starring legend Barbara Stanwyck, along with Lee Majors and Linda Evans) where he played a hired hand. Here, he delivered the memorable line: "Ain't a horse that can't be rode; ain't a man that can't be throwed".

Rawls lent his rich baritone voice to many cartoons, including Hey Arnold! as the voice of Harvey The Mailman, Garfield, and The Proud Family. For many of the Film Roman Garfield specials, Rawls would often compose songs for them, which he would then sing usually doing a duet with Desiree Goyette.

For many years, he was a spokesperson for the Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company, helping promote the brand on radio and TV to African-American markets much as Ed McMahon did for the white audience. He was also a spokesman for Budweiser. Budweiser was a key sponsor for the Rawls telethon and UNCF. There was no attempt to avoid the similarity between the title of the 1977 album When You've Heard Lou, You've Heard It All and his corporate sponsor's slogan "When You Say Budweiser, You've Said It All". A track on the 1978 album Lou Rawls Live, features Rawls singing the commercial slogan. Anheuser-Busch, the brewers of Budweiser, also suggested his telethon work to him.

Rawls was also a regular guest host on "Jazz Central", a program aired on the BET Jazz cable channel.

He appears as "Dr. Rawls" in a dream on an episode My Wife and Kids, where he breaks into a parody version of "You'll Never Find", which a frightened Damon Wayans is afraid of having a colonoscopy the following day. Rawls uses the scope as a microphone in the scene. Rawls appears as a commentator in the second half of both the rated and unrated versions of the commentary for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy DVD commentary track, despite having nothing to do with the film itself. During the track, he indulges the commentators' request, participating in a scatting contest with Will Ferrell.

Rawls also appeared in an episode of Bay Watch as a bookie.

Rawls was also a guest star during the second season of The Muppet Show. He also made a brief appearance on the series finale of Martin. He made an appearance on My Wife & Kids as a love doctor.

According to an Associated Press article, dated December 19, 2005, Rawls tried to annul his two-year marriage to Nina Malek Inman Rawls, a former flight attendant, in order to "protect hundreds of thousands of dollars" that his wife "absconded" with. Nina Rawls, who acted as his manager for two years, explained that she transferred nearly $350,000 of his into an account she solely controlled in order to prevent one of Rawls' daughters from seizing it. The couple had a son together, Aiden Allen Rawls.

In December 2005, it was announced that Rawls was being treated for lung and brain cancer. The singer died on January 6, 2006 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications of the cancers, with his wife at his side. Besides his wife and youngest son, he left behind two adult daughters - Louanna Rawls, a wardrobe stylist and future Launch My Line contestant, and Kendra Smith, an adult son, Lou Rawls, Jr, and three granddaughters - Brianna, Katrina, and Chayil.

Always a favourite singer of mine, I decided to put this list together of mostly earlier Lou.  The later stuff is great, but pretty easy to find. The songs here are more jazz and blues oriented, for the most part.....more in keeping with the stuff that I usually list.  I enjoy his R&B and disco-ish stuff, but today I wanted to do a list of Lou that has him at his swinging, incomparable best.........enjoy!!

Dead end street
Bring it on home
God bless the child
For you my love
Blues for the weepers
If I had my life to live over
Goin' to Chicago blues
How long, how long blues
After the lights go down low
Dead end street 2
Georgia on my mind
I'd rather drink muddy water
All the way
Don't explain
Autumn leaves
Breaking my back (instead of usin' my mind)
I wonder
Down here on the ground
If it's the last thing I do
Be anything (but be mine)
I'm gonna move to the outskirts of town
Id rather drink muddy water 2
Blues is a woman

Motherless child
Nobody but me
Ol' man river
Memory lane/Old man's memories/It was a very good year/growing old gracefully
Love is a hurtin' thing
Let's fall in love all over again
On Broadway
Just squeeze me (but don't tease me)
Righteous woman--I wanna little girl
Old folks
On a clear day
Shadow of your smile
Saturday night fish fry
Show business
Let's burn down the cornfield
One more for my baby
Mean old world
Long gone blues
See see rider
In the evening when the sun goes down
Lost and lookin'
A little Les of Lou's blues

Stormy weather
Street corner hustler's blues
Southside blues (Tobacco Road)
Something stirring in my soul
So hard to laugh, so easy to cry
Somebody have mercy
Street of dreams
Stormy Monday
T'ain't nobody's business if I do
Sweet lover
Stormy Monday (alt take)

A whole lotta Love
Tobacco Road
Trouble down here below
You're the one
Your good thing (is about to end)
What now my love
Whispering grass
You can bring me all your heartache
(what did I do to be so) Black and blue
You're the one
Wee baby blues
Why (do i love you so)
Willow weep for me


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