Johnny Rawls brought his trio into Mugzee's for another helping of his smooth, soulful Mississippi-by-way-of-Chicago blues that was enthusiastically received by the crowd. Johnny kicked things off with "My Turn to Win," the title song of one of his previous CD's. Johnny's soulful, smooth, expressive vocals, and talented guitar playing got the blues fans in the audience hooked right away.
Johnny's appearance was booked as a CD release party, and he played nearly all of the songs off his new one, Lucky Man. This is a solid CD with some great songs about loving, cheating, living, and staying together. "Picture in a Frame" is an excellent, moving song that Johnny performed solo on guitar and vocals at the start of his second set. "Still Together" chronicles the trials and love of a couple who still manage to keep things going in spite of all the problems they've had. Johnny also worked in several promos for his Down Home Blues Festival to be held October 4,5, and 6 in Wiggins, MS, not far from Johnny's home town of Purvis.
If you had to sum up Johnny and his music in one word, it would be smooth. Everything he does, from singing, playing guitar, writing songs, and interacting with his fans reflects the polish and considerable talent he has developed over the years. His music is a mix of Southern down home blues, big city funk, with a little soul and R&B blended in for spice. His veteran drummer, Eddie Gillespie, and veteran bass man, James Carson share some vocal duties in addition to doing a solid job of backing Johnny. On "It's All in the Game," a slow, soulful, beautiful song, they did some excellent harmonizing on the refrain.
Johnny likes to have fun and get a little risque at times in his shows. One of his new songs, "Can't Nobody Do You Like I Do (Cause I know how to do you)" is a funky, upbeat song with a catchy beat. "Lucy Get Juicy" is an older crowd favorite with a refrain that you'll have to catch by getting Johnny's CD or seeing him live. But Johnny always brings it back to couples and how they either get along or not. "I Would Be Nothing Without You" is a tribute to the woman (women?) that made him a success.
Johnny Rawls gave everyone a great show, playing nearly all his own material before doing a few covers. His is definitely a show to attend if you want to dance, featuring many slow numbers so you can dance up close and personal. The crowd at Mugzee's responded with enthusiasm to his return to Rochester. Johnny also appeared May 11th at Famous Dave's.
Simply click on the CD cover at left to this CD NOW!
This review is copyright © 2002 by Rich Benson, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
You can help support this blues website by making a contribution, click on the banner below for details
Web Hosting & Design:
Web Hosting & Design.
Most affordable web hosting and design services available.
Find out how you can host your current site at Blues On Stage, or how I can help you design your own website!
If you would like your CD reviewed, please send TWO (2) copies, along with promotional material to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983
E-mail Ray Stiles @ email@example.com with any questions.