Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls
Catfood Records 2014
Review by David Bowling
Otis Clay began his career back in the 1950’s singing in such gospel groups as The Voices of Hope, The Christian Travelers, and The Songbirds. In the early 1960’s he embarked upon a solo career, which culminated with his 2013 induction into the Blues Music Hall Of Fame.
John Rawls has released 16 albums during his career, which have produced 12 Blues Music Awards nominations.
While they have both been involved in the music business for decades, their paths did not cross until about ten years ago. Last year Clay guested on Rawls’ album, Remembering O.V. Now they have joined together to create the album Soul Brothers, which will be released next month.
Soul Brothers is a combination of original compositions and cover tunes. They take Dave Mason’s “Only You And I Know” in a funky blues direction. Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted” is a bit rawer than the original. Tyrone Davis’ “Turn Back The Hands Of Time” emerges as a bluesy track.
The Johnny Rawls penned “Hallelujah Lord” is a return to the gospel music of yesterday when blues and gospel music were first cousins. Original songs such as “Road Dog,” “Living On Borrowed Time,” and “Voodoo Queen” serve both vocalists well as they bring their years of experience to the music. The brass section gives the music an energetic and modern feeling.
Otis Clay and Johnny Rawls are two experienced blues masters who have combined their talent to produce an excellent album that should please any aficionado of the blues.