Johnny Rawls Remembering O.V.

Johnny Rawls Remembering O.V.
7
Here is a tribute album in which the artist has deep roots with the progenitor, and it shows. Noted soul/blues singer Johnny Rawls was something of a protégé of legendary Southern soul singer O.V. Wright, working as Wright's guitarist and music director back in Wright's heyday in the '70s. Rawls has covered Wright songs on three earlier albums, and these cuts are reprised here, along with six other tunes associated with Wright (Rawls and executive producer Bob Trenchard co-wrote the final track, the Wright-inspired "Blaze of Glory"). Rawls has a convincingly soulful voice that recalls this genre's golden era with ease. His horn-heavy backing band, the Rays, and trio of female backing singers, the Iveys, ensure a full-blooded sound nicely captured by Rawls's production. The vocal icing on the cake is the presence of Chicago soul great Otis Clay on three cuts, especially impressive on "A Nickel and a Nail." There's a nice mix of ballads and up-tempo material on this, an album that reminds us of the timeless pleasures of sweet soul music. (Catfood)