Lou Rawls, Tobacco Road, Capitol ST-2042, 1963
I struggled with this one a bit. On the one hand, not enough people know about Lou Rawls or his amazing voice. On the other hand, that voice was amazing partly because of all the cigarettes he smoke, only to die from lung cancer. Yet here he is singing about tobacco.
Most people know the album’s title track from the British Invasion remake by The Nashville Teens, but Lou’s version is as soulful as they come. I’m not sure if this is the version where the teens found the song, but the timing of the two records makes me probably thin yes. Lou got his start following his mentor Sam Cooke around the gospel circuit, only to sing back up on some of Sam’s biggest hits, notably Bring It On Home To Me, so he was pretty well known in music circles, even if his early albums didn’t sell very well.
If Lou is known at all, it’s for his photo disco albums he made in the 70s for Philadelphia International. But his 60s Capitol albums are really great and fairly easy to find and well worth searching out.
Cost: $1, $646 Remaining