Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls

Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls
Soul Brothers

Catfood Records (CFR-021)

By Georgetown Fats
October 2014

There may be an October 21st drop date for Soul Brothers, but the folks at Catfood Records are starting their Valentines Day push early. By pairing Blues Hall of Fame singer Otis Clay with Blues Music Award winning vocalist Johnny Rawls, Catfood Records has assured us there will be a whole lot of ‘lovin’ in the air’.

While Clay appears as a special guest on Rawls’ 2013 release, Remembering O.V., Soul Brothers is the first release with the two as co-headliners.

Kicking off with the Dave Mason penned “Only You Know I Know,” Clay and Rawls lead their band through a tight 3:50 minute track. While the arrangement clearly is intended to focus on the vocals, guitarist Johnny McGhee carves out a subtle-but-still spectacular solo.

The horn section kicks off “Momma Didn’t Raise No Fool”; a big bouncy song absolutely irresistible to involuntary body movement. Whether it is a head bob or a swaying of the hips, you’ll be moving before Mike Middleton fires off a trumpet solo.

Probably my favorite track is the song penned by former Roomful of Blues trumpet and cornet player Al Basile. Guitarist McGhee is back with another minimalist guitar solo, while Dan Ferguson adds a touch of Chicago blues to the Memphis soul track with his Hammond B3 organ. At a brisk 2:46 minutes, my only complaint is the brevity of the tune.

Ultimately, in addition to adding his vocal talents, Rawls also shines handling the production work for Soul Brothers. To have the finesse to balance all of the assembled talent, Rawls shows his well rounded musical ability goes beyond performance.

Soul Brothers is Rawls seventh production credit with Catfood Records. Here is to hoping there are many more in his future.

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