Although not as well known as the Hi Rhythm Section or Booker T. & the MGs, Johnny Rawls and L.C. Luckett have credentials that are almost as impressive. They were session stalwarts in and around Memphis for years; they've toured with artists ranging from the late O.V. Wright to the still-sizzling Lynn White; their multiinstrumental virtuosity enables them to function as virtually an entire R & B rhythm section when the occasion demands. In the wake of Can't Sleep at Night, their current CD on the Rooster Blues label, their vocal prowess has garnered the most attention. Not since the glory days of Sam and Dave have we heard a male vocal duo capable of such suppleness and power. On up-tempo numbers they exude an affable, sweaty machismo that's both sexy and evocative of a deeply affirming bond of brotherhood, recalling the uplifting sense of solidarity of the soul era; their ballads are simultaneously lung-pumping and tender, with enough vibrato-laden vulnerability to melt female hearts at a hundred paces. Whether their current success, alongside the resurgence of Syl Johnson and the appearance of newcomers like Sandra Hall, represents the beginnings of a full-fledged southern soul revival remains to be seen, but for the time being the future looks bright. Friday and Saturday, 9:30 PM, Rosa's, 3420 W. Armitage; 342-0452.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Patty Johnson.