LOU RAWLS-ALL THINGS IN TIME.
LOU RAWLS-ALL THINGS IN TIME.
By the time Lou Rawls signed for Philadelphia International Records, he’d already had a long and successful career in the music industry. He’d released his debut album Stormy Monday on Blue Note Records back in 1962, and since then, had released over twenty-five albums for a various record companies including Capitol and MGM. However, when he arrived at Philadelphia International, his career was going through something of a lull, with his earlier success eluding him. With the help of Gamble and Huff, and everyone at Philadelphia International, Lou Rawls career was to be rejuvenated, resulting in a number of commercially successful albums, the first of which was All Things In Time.
During parts of 1975 and 1976, Lou Rawls spent time in the famous Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, recording nine tracks that would be his debut album on Philadelphia International All Things In Time. As well as Gamble and Huff, Some of Philadelphia International’s biggest and best arrangers and producers worked on All Things In Time. This included Thom Bell, Jack Faith, Bobby Martin, Dexter Walnsel and Bunny Sigler. To help Lou get his career back on track, the equivalent of Philadelphia International royalty worked on the album. Gamble and Huff contributed four songs, one of which was something very special. You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine is probably the best known track Lou Rawls ever recorded for Philadelphia International, and it seemed that the song was a perfect fit for his voice. With nine songs recorded, the album was scheduled to be released in Jun 1976. Would All Things In Time get Lou Rawls career back on track?
When All Things In Time was released in June 1976, the album was a huge success, reaching number seven in the US Billboard 200 and number one in the US R&B Charts. The album was certified gold, having sold over 500,000 copies. Not only did the record buying public love the albums, but so did critics. It wasn’t just Lou’s vocals they loved, but the the slick production. Since then, All Things In Time Is regarded as the best album Lou released on Philadelphia International, and is regarded as one of the best ever albums of his career. Having had a hugely successful album, Lou’s career was to get a further boost when four singles were released from the album.
The first single released from All Things In Time was Time, released in 1976. Time reached number eight in the US Dance Charts, but would be surpassed by the second single of 1976, You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine. When it was released as a single, it was a huge success, reaching number two in the US Billboard 100, and number one in the US R&B Charts and US Dance Charts. This was the biggest single of Lou’s career, and remains one of his most popular songs. 1977 saw two more singles released from the album, with Groovy People the first of these. It only reached number sixty-four in the US Billboard 100 and nineteen in the US R&B Charts. This Song Will Last Forever was the final single released from All Things In Time, reaching just number seventy-four in the US R&B Charts. However, All Things In Time had rejuvenated Lou Rawls’ career, resulting in a number one album and single in the US R&B Charts, and top ten US Billboard album and single. It’s that album All Things In Time, that I’ll now tell you about.
All Things In Time opens with You’re the One, the first of four Gamble and Huff penned tracks. A dramatic flourish of piano gives way to Lou’s charismatic vocal, backed by jazzy horns that help the track swing along beautifully. Add to that a standup bass, drums and the piano and you’ve got what sounds like the tightest of jazz bands backing Lou. Later, a prolonged piano solo takes centre-stage, as the horns gently rasp. Mostly, though the horns drench Lou’s strong, emotive voice. Adding to the jazz tinged hues of the track are a chiming guitar solo, crashing, jazzy drums and drama laden flourishes of piano. By the end of the track, it’s almost impossible not to be swept away by this brilliant jazzy track, that features a charismatic and joyful vocal from Lou, and an outstanding arrangement and production by Jack Faith.
After the jazz tinged hues of You’re the One, comes the hugely successful single, You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine. What makes the track work so well is the way Bobby Martin’s arrangement and Lou’s vocal unite perfectly. They compliment each other perfectly. Piano, the rhythm section, chiming guitars combine before Lou’s slow, smooth, sensuous vocal enters. As Lou sings, it’s almost call and response between Lou and the piano. He leaves a space which the piano fills dramatically. Then when the tempo increases, with drums, rasping horns and the piano adding brief flourishes of drama. When this happens, Lou’s voice rises, becoming stronger, full of emotion and passion, as he tells his lover that she’ll never find another lover like him, and she’s going to miss his loving. Meanwhile, female backing vocalists cut in, their gentle voices a contrast to Lou’s powerful vocal. What makes this track so great is the arrangement, it builds and builds, layer upon layer of sumptuous music reveals itself, with the rhythm section and piano key to success of the track, with the horns adding just the finishing touch. Add to this Lou’s fantastic vocal, and the result is one of the best songs Lou Rawls ever recorded. However, credit must be given to Bobby Martin for his arrangement, and Gamble and Huff for their production.
When you’re in the recording studio and have cut such an outstanding track as You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, the problem must be which track do you follow it with? The one chosen was Time, which was the first single released from the album. Sweeping strings, a gentle piano and a clarinet combine to create a slightly dramatic sound before Lou enters, His voice is strong, thoughtful and laden with emotion as it soars high, singing lyrics that are thoughtful and sad. Behind him, a slow arrangement unfolds, with a piano, lush strings, bass and clarinet combining to create a beautiful, meandering arrangement. It’s a totally different track from anything else on the album, and quite unlike a Philadelphia International track. Having said that, it’s a lovely, pensive sounding track, with lyrics that’ll set you thinking.
Groovy People sees the tempo increase, on this Gamble and Huff penned track. It’s a track that combines soul with elements of soul and jazz, and bursts into life with blazing horns, the rhythm section, swirling strings, chiming guitars before Lou’s vocal swings in. The horns drench the arrangement with their jazzy sound, while a piano, the rhythm section and chiming guitars are key to the arrangement’s success. Meanwhile, Lou grabs the songs, and makes it swing, singing about how he dislikes nosey and intrusive people, but likes groovy people. Backing vocalists soulfully accompany Lou, while drums add brief, dramatic flourishes. For just over three minutes, Lou and M.F.S.B. take Gamble and Huff’s track, combine jazz and soul together, the result being a majestic, swinging, groovy track for Groovy People.
Guitars chime, a Hammond organ adds atmosphere, before drums add drama, strings sweep in and Lou gives a vocal that reminds me of Billy Paul. His vocal on Need You Forever is slow, full of emotion and drama, sung against a slow arrangement. Horns rasp, while the arrangement builds and builds, while backing vocalists accompany Lou. As he sings how he needs and loves the woman he’s just met, drums punctuate the arrangement, adding a sense of drama, reflecting his pleas and neediness. The longer the track progresses, the better it gets, with Lou’s vocal heartfelt and needy, accompanied by punchy drums, a floaty flute and rasping horns. Apart from You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, this is the best and most emotive vocal from Lou, set against a fantastic arrangement from Richard Rome.
When From Now On opens, Lou half speaks the vocal, promising to change his ways, become a new man. This he does against an arrangement that combines a smattering of funk with a sweeping, soulful arrangement from Richard Rome. A flute, gentle wah-wah guitar and lush strings accompany Lou’s half spoken vocal before the arrangement and vocal unfold. A combination of rhythm section, sweeping strings, chiming guitars and keyboards combine beautifully, with Lou’s joyous, thankful vocal. While the arrangement sweeps along, you realize that there’s only one place that this track could be made, Philadelphia, and only by just one label, Philadelphia International. This arrangement is one of the best on the album, it’s faster, fuller and has a lovely lush, joyous sound. Atop that arrangement sits Lou’s vocal, while searing, chiming guitars, punchy drums and the lushest of strings accompany him. By the end of the track, you realize that this is one of the best tracks on the album, with Lou and M.F.S.B. combining to produce a brilliant track.
Following on from the previous joyous and brilliant track, comes Pure Imagination, co-written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, and a song that would become a live favorite of Lou’s for many years. Keyboards accompany Lou’s strong, smooth voice as the track opens. A combination slow lush strings, a flute, rasping horns and the rhythm section combine as the song quickens slightly. Blazing horns and chiming guitars combine with lush strings when Lou’s vocal drops out. Then when it returns, it’s hugely powerful but still retains his trademark silky, smooth style. When this vocal is combined with Dexter Wansel’s faster, fuller and jazz tinged arrangement, the result is another good track, albeit one that reminds me somewhat of a show tune.
A piano, chiming guitars and rhythm section combine with backing vocalists as This Song Will Last Forever begins. When Lou’s thoughtful vocal enters, it’s against a faster, sweeping arrangement arranged by Bobby Martin and produced by Gamble and Huff. There’s a lovely understated, sound to the arrangement as it flows beautifully along. Lush strings enter swirling high above, while the rhythm section, chiming guitars and piano combine beautifully, as Lou delivers the song beautifully. By now, it features a trademark Gamble and Huff production, and you’re swept along by its gorgeous sound. Bursts of rasping horns punctuate the track, complimenting the rest of the track, and providing a contrast to the strings. As the song closes, it seems everyone concerned have combined brilliantly, to produce one of the album’s highlights. Lou reserved one of his best vocals for the song, and Gamble and Huff and arranger Bobby Martin have provided the perfect backdrop for Lou’s vocal.
All Things In Time closes with Let’s Fall In Love Again, a sultry sounding track, arranged and produced by Bobby Martin. Rasping horns, chiming guitars, keyboards and rhythm section combine to produce a slow, sultry jazz tinged arrangement for Lou’s heartfelt and sad vocal. He’s going through a bad time, and with his relationship failing, he decided he and his partner must fall in love again. As Lou sings the lyrics, you can almost sense his hurt and sadness, and the pain he’s feeling. When he sings, he gets this across, while lush strings join the arrangement, merging with rasping horns, guitars and rhythm section. Bursts of dramatic drums and horns punctuate this beautiful sounding track, helping reflect the pain and anguish of Lou’s vocal. Adding the finishing touch are angelic sounding female backing vocalists, who add to the sadness of the track, and provide a contrast to Lou’s stronger voice. When this lovely track ends, it seems like the perfect track to end the album with. It’s always the case when you end the album with such a good track, that you experience a feeing of satisfaction. That’s what I felt when this track ended, satisfied at such a good track and good album.
When you listen to Lou Rawls album All Things In Time, you’re immediately struck by how different sounding this album is compared to many albums on Philadelphia International Records. The difference is the obvious jazz influence on the album. Not many albums on Philadelphia International feature such a jazzy influence. However, Lou Rawls was famous for jazz, soul and blues music. On this album, you hear him singing a magical combination of jazz and soul music. This he does against some brilliant arrangements from Bobby Martin, Jack Faith and Richard Rome. They provided some fantastic arrangements, some of which were jazz drenched, others soul music. With producers including Gamble and Huff, Dexter Wansel, Jack Faith and Bobby Martin, Philadelphia International deployed all of their best producers and arrangers to help rejuvenate Lou’s career. With songs of the quality of You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, Groovy People. From Now On and This Song Will Last Forever, it’s no wonder that this was such a successful album, reaching number two in the US Billboard 200 and number one in the US R&B Charts. Add to this a number two single in the US Billboard 100 and number one in the US R&B Charts, with You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, Lou Rawls career was rejuvenated. After this, he’d release six further studio albums and one live album on Philadelphia International. These albums featured some wonderful music, and saw Lou Rawls career rejuvenated and reach the highs of his earlier career. If you’ve never heard All Things In Time, it’s an excellent album, full of some great jazz and soul music. It’s now available along with Unmistakably Lou, as part of a two albums on one disc on Edsel Records. This will allow you to hear what happened when Gamble and Huff transformed Lou Rawls career back in 1976, resulting in a number one single and album in the US R&B Charts. Standout Tracks: You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, Groovy People. From Now On and This Song Will Last Forever.
LOU RAWLS-ALL THINGS IN TIME.