Albums

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Soul - Released May 13, 1959 | Geffen

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Soul - Released February 16, 1963 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

Soul - Released May 31, 1963 | PnR

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Soul - Released July 8, 1963 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Soul - Released September 21, 1963 | Polydor

In the wake of James Brown's first substantial pop hit, "Prisoner of Love," King rushed out this LP, as usual drawing upon old singles ("Try Me," "Lost Someone," "Bewildered"), B-sides ("Waiting in Vain," the organ instrumental [RoviLink="MC"]"[Can You] Feel It [Part 1]"[/RoviLink]), and Brown's then-current single, "Signed, Sealed, and Delivered" (not the Stevie Wonder song). The idea seemed to be to put together a collection in the medium-tempo, string-filled, lovelorn style of the hit, so there was a lot of pleading on this record. Brown would always be more interested in the dancefloor than the bedroom, but he was a convincing romantic beggar, so the album's loose concept held together. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Soul - Released November 1, 1964 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released January 1, 1965 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released January 1, 1965 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Soul - Released March 19, 1965 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

In the spring of 1965, Bert Kaempfert scored a Top 40 hit with an instrumental version of the 1921 standard "Three O'Clock in the Morning," and Capitol Records put Lou Rawls into the studio to cut a vocal cover. When his single saw listings in the pop and easy listening charts -- his first chart appearances -- the label authorized an entire album of similar material. So, arranger/conductor Benny Carter put together a session with strings and a vocal chorus and came up with a bunch of other 1920s hits (plus a couple of ringers from the 1950s, "Now and Then There's a Fool Such as I" and "Cold, Cold Heart"). On Nobody But Lou, their previous album together, Carter had conceived of Rawls as a young Joe Williams and put him in a swinging big band context reminiscent of Count Basie and His Orchestra. Lou Rawls and Strings also swung, at least here and there, and Rawls attempted to put his own stamp on the corny material, adding such interjections as "I said" and "Talkin' 'bout" to the lyrics, and even throwing in the remark "Alaska ain't got nothin' on ya, baby," during "Cold, Cold Heart." But he was largely hemmed in by the material and the roomful of singers and musicians, resulting in a fairly schmaltzy record despite his and Carter's best efforts. Clearly, Capitol Records was not satisfied with Rawls' marginal sales after four albums and was casting about for a different approach with the singer. Reviving the 1920s probably wasn't the road to popular success, but Lou Rawls and Strings at least demonstrated that Rawls and his record company weren't going to settle for trying to clone Joe Williams. Later, their experiments would bear fruit. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Soul - Released March 22, 1965 | UNI - MOTOWN

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"..the first great soul concept album.." - Rating: A
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Soul - Released March 22, 1965 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released August 14, 1965 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

It isn't hard to discern what veteran jazz bandleader Benny Carter had in mind in arranging and conducting Lou Rawls' fourth Capitol album (following Stormy Monday [1962], Black and Blue [1963], and Tobacco Road [1964]). Carter's conception simply was that the 29-year-old Rawls was a young Joe Williams and should be treated as such. The idea is logical enough; Rawls, a Chicago native like Williams, also possessed a deep, rich voice with a bit of grit at the bottom. Accordingly, Carter wrote arrangements that echoed the blues-jazz style of Count Basie and His Orchestra (for which Williams had sung before going out on his own) and conducted a horn-filled big band to play behind Rawls in swinging style. Although he had actually come out of a gospel, not a jazz, background, Rawls handled the arrangements just fine, swinging lightly and singing warmly. At any given moment, it was easy to suppose you were listening to Williams. And Carter left plenty of room for the band to have solos. The result was an excellent session, if one not likely to break Rawls out to a pop or R&B audience. That would begin to happen over the next year, and Nobody But Lou would stand as the last of Rawls' albums before his music took a more commercial direction as he began to emerge from Williams' shadow and be himself. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Soul - Released January 1, 1966 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Soul - Released January 1, 1966 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

Competent but unexceptional commercial mid-'60s soul with a strong, brassy Motown flavor. Jones was clearly a powerhouse singer but wasn't getting the material her talents deserved. "Heartbeat," by far the best track on the album, was reissued in better company in Rhino's Soul Shots series. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Soul - Released January 1, 1966 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released August 25, 1966 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released November 16, 1966 | UNI - MOTOWN

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Soul - Released January 1, 1967 | Stax

Presenting Isaac Hayes (1967) is the debut long player from soulman extraordinaire Isaac Hayes, although he had been a major force on the Memphis R&B scene as an instrumentalist/arranger/producer. With partner David Porter, he was also a songwriter for artists associated with the legendary Stax label. Along with Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass) and Al Jackson, Jr. (drums) of Booker T. & the MG's fame, Hayes unleashes his familiar blend of highly introspective jazz, soul, and blues. He turns Willie Dixon's blues standard "I Just Wanna Make Love to You" into a sensual medley with B.B. King's signature composition "Rock Me Baby." In direct contrast to the aggression in much of his later work, his originals -- most notably the sexy "Precious, Precious" and a blast from his past, "You Don't Know (Like I Know)," are almost discomfortingly intimate. His stylish and classic rendering of "When I Fall in Love" demonstrates Hayes' obvious understanding and deep abiding appreciation of pop standards. His emotive rendering is not unlike that of Nat King Cole -- who recorded the song himself to great effect. The long, spoken "raps" that Hayes would become known for on subsequent releases had yet to be fully developed. The idea of stretching the song out melodically and extending the arrangement, however, yields one of the most poignant and unlikely medleys of all time, combining the Count Basie/Jimmy Rushing classic "Going to Chicago Blues" with, of all things, "Misty." This reveals the extreme sensitivity that exists between music and musician. In fact, so densely packed and involved are some of the passages that it's easy to dismiss that all the sounds are coming from a trio. Although die-hard soul fanatics will inevitably include Presenting Isaac Hayes in their library, it should also be considered essential listening for the burgeoning enthusiasts of not only R&B, but anyone who loves well-arranged pop music. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Soul - Released January 1, 1967 | Numero Group

Soul - Released February 13, 1967 | Tramp Records

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