This is my first Lou Rawls album, despite having heard the name many, many times. So basically all I knew was that it was soul.
I guess the materials fine, it’s certainly catchy enough – that’s rarely a problem for this style. I can’t say I particularly like “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.” It definitely has a very slick ’70s vibe to it, vaguely disco ish and with Rawls’ delivery just a little too smooth.
The inclusion of “Pure Imagination” here is a real curve ball and I’m not sure the album is better for it. I haven’t heard the original in long enough but I don’t think they did enough to take it away from its origins as a kid’s song.
Rawls’ voice is pretty decent and I can understand why he was so successful. But too often he sounds like a crooner and I find myself waiting for those moments where he actually exerts himself. In many ways, he reminds me of a country singer in terms of how he’s trying (mostly) to fit within a pretty specific stylistic range, one that won’t upset the fans. This isn’t quite fair – he does get more passionate at times and a little quirky on occasion, just not enough for me.
The production is pretty straight-up slick Philly Soul with flirtations with disco. There are way too many instruments here – check out “Time” on which there seems to be an entire orchestra – and there’s rarely space. There does feel like there are some attempts to avoid Philly Soul cliches but those don’t always work – sometimes it almost sounds like soulful lounge music, like on “You’re the One.” (That’s not a compliment.)
It’s just very much not my thing and the one weird thing they do doesn’t work for me. If I was to make a list of examples of why I hate Philly Soul and don’t think it works, this one would be right up there.