Johnny Rawls – Going Back to Mississippi
Third Street Cigar Records
10 tracks/40 minutes
Recorded in Denmark and Ohio, Going Back To Mississippi is Johnny’s 21st release and with this album he used a great German trio of musicians the Özdemirs, which is their family name; Erkan on bass and sons Kenan on guitar and Levent on drums are joined by Italian Alberto Marsico on Hammond organ. Byron Harris, Jr., fills in on drums for a couple of tracks. Peter Buhi on trumpet, Johan Bylling Lange on tenor sax, Mike Williams on sax, and Travis Geiman on trombone comprise the horn section, and they are also darn good.
“Midnight Train” opens the album, a gritty soul blues about leaving his woman with no return. Johnny tells her in no uncertain terms that it’s over in this very cool number with some stinging guitar licks. “Reap What You Sow” is another relationship cut telling his woman she’s going to miss him as she gets what she deserves. Another fine soul number with more great guitar along with horn and organ support.
The title track has a driving groove going and some really nice guitar work. Rawls sings with passion about his home state as the guitar offers some tasty licks in support. The horns shine and help drive the song along smartly. The ballad “If You Ever Get Lonely” is next with Rawls letting his woman know she’s always welcome to call on him. The trumpet, piano and organ are subline and help set the mood.
The bouncy “I Got It” follows, a fun number where Johnny lets his woman know he’ll always be there for her, because, “If you want it, I got it.” There’s some pretty and restrained guitar and horns that are a great part of the mix. “Nooki Nooki” is another fun song where Johnny asks what the song’s title means. He doesn’t know what it is but it sure feels good to him, so I guess he’s figured it out!
“Your Love” features Ramona Collins with Rawls is a really outstanding, soulful duet. Classic soul done right. Then it’s “Amazing Love,” another great love song with Rawls telling his women what her love means to him and how he could never live without her. Both of these two cuts showcase the talents of this great soul man to enthrall the listener.
The funk gets let loose with “Straight From The Bottle” with some help from Elvin Bishop. We get some pretty slide guitar here along with some down-home, juke joint funk. The final cut is a super boogie woogie tune entitled “Love Machine.” Marsico blazes on the piano keys and the horn section does double duty as Johnny and company have a lot of fun with this song. Marsico truly shines here on the 88 keys and Johnny also seems energized as the album draws to a rousing conclusion.
This album is another feather in Rawls’ cap. The former band leader for OV Wright keeps the blues and soul alive as he dazzles the listener with ten original tracks. Johnny shows us he still has got it as he give it his all on this fantastic set of tunes. I loved it and any soul music fan will, too!