What an album! For live soul-infused vocals, we know of none better.
Lou is live, singing his heart out in a small club that exists between, behind and maybe even around your speakers. If you can reproduce the three-dimensional space of this club you are in for a real treat.
Both sides are clear, with full-bodied vocals, and a silky sweet top end that helps in recreating the space of the room. The guitars have that Tubey Magical analog sound that we love here at Better Records, and the vocals have ‘you are there’ presence which simply cannot be found on most pressings. There’s also real depth to the soundfield; you hear right into the music on this copy.
What the best sides of this Classic Live Soul Album have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1966
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with the vocals, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the concert hall
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now
Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
South Side Blues
St. James Infirmary
The Shadow of Your Smile
I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water
Goin’ to Chicago Blues
In the Evening (When the Sun Goes Down)
The Girl from Ipanema
I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)
Street Corner Hustler’s Blues
World of Trouble
Lou Rawls gives a riveting performance on Live!, covering standards from Basie/Rushing’s tambourine-jumpin’ “Goin’ to Chicago” to T-Bone Walker’s foot-stompin’ “Stormy Monday,” and whole lot in between. Each selection is as inviting as the next, featuring Tommy Short on piano solos on some. On finger-snappin’ numbers like “In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down” and “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water,” the crooning baritone wails his way through the lyric… For soul-stirrin’ blues and swingin’ jazz numbers, this is an excellent pick.