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December 1997

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Rawls & Luckett
Can't Sleep At Night
Rooster Blues

Rawls & LuckettCan't Sleep At Night was released in 1994, and somehow I missed getting a copy. It wasn't until I had booked Johnny Rawls' band for an upcoming blues festival that a friend told me this CD was one of his favorites that year, and offered to loan his copy. I somehow haven't gotten around to returning it.

When this disc was recorded Rawls was still working with his longtime partner L.C. Luckett. Together, they've backed artists like O.V. Wright, Latimore, Little Johnny Taylor, Z.Z. Hill and many others. But talent this strong needs to be at the front of the bandstand, as they finally get the opportunity to do on this nice collection of soulful Southern blues tunes.

Both Rawls and Luckett share the vocals on the album. But it's Rawls, with his rich natural voice, who really stands out.

Can't Sleep At Night gets off to a good start with the title cut, a soulful number on which the leaders are backed by a solid, tight band.

"I Don't Do Windows" has that classic soul sound, with the two stars harmonizing on vocals. Rawls shows off his pipes on another nice soul number "Good Love (Takes More Than A Minute)," on which he sounds a lot like his mentor Wright.

Rawls and Luckett can also get down and do some serious blues, as you'll hear on the uptempo shuffle "Have You Ever Played The Fool" and the slow, gritty "If You're Not Home By Tomorrow."

Can't Sleep At Night closes on a strong note with a medley of two O.V. Wright standards, "I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy" and "Ace of Spades." Great!

I guess my friend will want his copy of Can't Sleep At Night back some day, so I better get one for my collection. You should do the same.

--- Bill Mitchell

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