Lou Rawls: What Makes the Ending So Sad
Lou Rawls -- What Makes the Ending So Sad
Lou Rawls -- You're Takin' My Bag
Lou Rawls -- Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye
Lou Rawls -- I Want to Be Loved (But by Only You)
Lou Rawls -- It's You
As I'm sure you've heard, Lou Rawls died of cancer on Friday. He has a long history in R&B--four decades--and an amazing voice, and he worked with good producers and arrangers (David Axelrod, Gamble & Huff), resulting in a lot of ace material to choose from.
"What Makes the Ending so Sad" is probably my second-favorite Rawls track, after "My Ancestors" (which I posted a year ago). It's a song looking at falling in and out of love, essentially asking why people who start out as friends and progress to dating can then break up and hate each other.
"You're Takin' My Bag" is a funky jazz number with a horn section and an eminently sample-able acoustic bass; it's off Too Much!, which was produced by David Axelrod and arranged by H.B. Barnum.
"Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" is off the same LP and has high hopes for a relationship; it's a come-on song stating that essentially there's nothing to lose in trying.
"I Want To Be Loved (But By Only You)" is off The Way It Was: The Way It Is, which was printed with a different track list on the cover than the order they're in on the disc (hence the conflict between the ID3 info here and what's on allmusic.com). That's an all-around awesome album, with tracks lifted from it for both Rawls' Anthology and the Rawls/Axelrod comp I Can't Make It Alone. This one is a slow-cooking R&B track with a bluesy track and Rawls' warm, warm voice telling about his unimpeachable (and unrequited) love.
"It's You" is off the same LP and is a buoyant love song about a man in a happy uncomplicated relationship. It seems to have been recorded a little hot, but I think it's a great song regardless, very catchy and uplifting. (One great song I have that's recorded way too hot ever to consider posting: "She's My Girl" by The Turtles. What a shame that is; maybe it's only the 45 that's buggered.)
The two Rawls/Gamble & Huff LPs I have (Let Me Be Good to You and Unmistakably Lou) have both been reissued in their entirety on CD; I was sorely tempted to post "Spring Again" but it's a bit scratched up so I'll just say that it's a cheerful, optimistic number, in line with spring itself, and I'm awfully fond of it.
I hope I'm not being a hipster obscurist with these last four tracks (I have a genuine love for plaid flannel, and irony wears on my nerves after awhile, so mabye there's not much risk of it). But, uh, I think these other tracks haven't been collected onto a compilation or reissued; needless to say, I think they should be.
[Anthology @ amazon.com]
Soul Shower has a post on Rawls, as does The Number One Songs in Heaven. Dig.
Other news entirely:
Recently I watched Irreversible b/w Oldboy, which both in their own peculiar ways seem to serve as condemnations of revenge (though I kept wondering if Irreversible was meant as a political parable and then reminding myself that it almost certainly wasn't, and that even if it were, the revenge part fits but the rape part is a stretch). Those two with Grizzly Man and Serenity were the best four-fer I've rented: rich, solid, fascinating work all around.
... And, in the works: a Hollywood Oldboy remake. No kidding. Let me guess the ending: the Oh Dae-su character has studied hypnosis, briefly, as an aside to some college coursework; he finds Woo-jin's story absurd, recognizes it for a lie, and kills him with something sharp just before rescuing his love from some well-timed mechanical peril. The two drive off into the sunset in a convertible with some major-keyed strings swelling on the soundtrack. The film gets middling reviews, nets $40M its opening weekend, and with all the rights and rentals, the studio comes out ahead $500M. Some studio head who deserves a kick in the ass for greenlighting formulaic stories gets a raise instead and celebrates with roses and diamonds for the wife, and some coke and a fourth SUV for himself.