Album Reviews

Johnny Rawls

Waiting For the Train

Artist:     Johnny Rawls

Album:     Waiting For the Train

Label:     Catfood Records

Release Date:     09/15/2017

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The latest ten-track offering from US blues-soul master Johnny Rawls again shows just why he remains such a firm favourite with festival fans and good, soulful music lovers worldwide. Rawls  has a truly remarkable pedigree as both a songwriter and singer in the strongly over-populated soul-music genre.

Rawls has worked with soul-blues giants such as OV Wright, Otis Clay and a host of others in a career that now stretches back around half a century, with countless accolades and awards including Male Blues Artist of the Year and Critics’ Choice Southern Soul Album of the Year in 2014 from Mississippi’s Living Blues magazine. A fitting tribute for one of Mississippi’s own, homegrown artists.

As usual, Rawls is partnered by his bass playing buddy and Catfood Records boss, Bob Trenchard, together with a Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines on Waiting For the Train, an album that at times holds reflections on mortality and a love of life as central themes. Rawls is an eloquent songwriter of enormous distinction and, again, with this release, his writing underscores much of the album with its inherent lyrical strength and melodic power. If there’s a surprise track it probably comes in the sensitive, soulful delivery of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” here given a decidedly thoughtful twist.

There’s absolutely nothing to criticise here, an album that’s pretty near-impossible not to like. Yet another positive winner from Rawls, a guy who is still out there turning in genuinely remarkable performances and working flat-out at the top of his game.

—Iain Patience

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