Blues are Alive with Johnny Rawls Tiger In A Cage
This is an album that is infused with blues and soul. Johnny Rawls is keeping electric post-wars blues alive and kicking with twelve tracks that are pure blue and would calm any Tiger In A Cage! The album purrs this is classic blues, and with passage of years will still be played. Opening with the title track, a serious number to start off the musical journey with Rawls. Tiger In A Cage is about a 19-year-old black man being sent to prison; a life thrown away, being over before it has begun. The album really jumps up a notch with Born To The Blues, reflecting being born in Mississippi and just keeping on playing the music. . As we hear nine self-penned numbers and three stylish covers Sam Cooke’s Having A Party, Jackie Wilson’s Your Love Is Lifting Me (Higher and Higher) and Beast of Burden from the Rolling Stones are interspersed throughout the album. On Tiger In A Cage, Johnny Rawls also revisits Red Cadillac with a funky re-working of a title track of a previous album.
The album has a depth of blues tone and not through the domination of riffs and licks from the electric guitar but the orchestration of eleven musicians working together. This allows the tone to be shaped by backing vocals from The Iveys, horns and keys and special guest Eden Brent who on Southern Hearts duets with Johnny in a soulful tune full of sexy country blues inflections. Closing with a big love song I Would Be Nothing this slow number draws the album to a reflective soulful ending that purrs rather than growls out the blues. Johnny Rawls vibe is deep and strong and without the blues this album would be a mewing cat in a basket rather than a Tiger In A Cage!
Blues are Alive with Johnny Rawls and Tiger In A Cage is another mighty fine notch in Jim Gaines producer of albums that find the sweet spot of style and blues infused depths of sonic tones. Johnny Rawls has created a blues album of classic proportions, his first since Soul Brothers where he joined up with the great and sadly late Otis Clay. Blues runs deep and true full of soul and passion throughout Tiger In A Cage.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….
1. Tiger In A Cage
2. Born To The Blues
3. Red Caillac (Rays version )
4. Every Woman Needs A Working Man
5. Reckless Heart
6. Keep It Loose
7. Having A Party
8. Your Love Is Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)
9. Southern Honey
11. Beast Of Burden
12. I Would Be Nothing