Thursday, March 10, 2016

Catfood Records artist: Johnny Rawls - Tiger In A Cage - New release review

I just received the newest release, Tiger In A Cage, from Johnny Rawls and I really like it. Opening with title track, Tiger In A Cage which has a lot of the characteristics of Curtis Mayfield, smooth with a super groove via Bob Trenchard on bass and an added treat, Mike Middleton playing a loose jazzy trumpet lead. Excellent! Born To The Blues has a more bluesy rolling sound courtesy of the Rays featuring Andy Roman on sax, Middleton on trumpet, Robert Claiborne on trombone and Nick Flood on bari sax. A nice bass groove by Trenchard, slick guitar riffs by Johnny McGhee and tight drums from Richy Puga give this track strong radio appeal. Rawls' vocals throughout this release are very solid and Red Cadillac is no exception. With a cool R&B feel, and Trenchard driving the train, this track is just flat out cool! Every Woman Needs A Working Man has a chugging train feel and McGhee's guitar riffs punctuate the phrasing nicely. Reckless Heart is an easy soul ballad and really nicely features the warmth of Rawls' vocal strength. On Keep It Loose, Rawls cranks the Rays with a cool R&B track. Backing vocals by Arlen, Jessica and Jillian Ivey as wekk as the punchy sound of the Rays horn section charges this track and a tight solo by McGhee ices the cake. Sam Cooke's, Having a Party, has a real nice swing and Rawls sets a super groove. His natural feel, dressed by Ferguson on piano and with warm backing by the Iveys leave a great opportunity for a sweet bone solo by Claiborne. Excellent! Classic soul track, Your Love Is Lifting Me, is high energy and punchy horn work and a nice bass line really set it off. Very nice! Southern Honey finds Eden Brent sharing the lead spot with Rawls and addition of accordion by Ferguson, violin by Tommy Sheen, cello by Norma Martinez and street style percussion by Jon Olazabal gives this track a cajun feel. Lucy has a trademark R&B radio sound with Rawls out front, horns behind and a funky beat. Next up is Mick and Keith's Beast of Burdon. With only the smallest of changes to the arrangement but with a punched up horn backing, this track has a cool feel. Wrapping the release is another Mayfield like track, I Would Be Nothing. One of my favorite tracks on the release, Rawls is smooth as silk with warm backing by the Iveys and keys from Ferguson. Excellent conclusion to a strong soulful release.

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