2 early Capitol classics by Lou Rawls – back to back on one CD, and perfectly paired throughout! Black and Blues is quite possibly the first truly great Lou Rawls album for Capitol – an all-out swinging jazz session done with arrangements by Onzy Matthews, in a mode that firmly helped put the Lou Rawls sound on the map! The tracks are mostly older numbers from a long lineage of blues and R&B – but with hipper 60s touches by Matthews in the backings, Lou really swings the work into a whole new territory – moving older, clunky compositions into more adult, more mature modes that aren't nearly as sad or downtrodden as their roots! Titles include "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water", "Roll Em Pete", "Kansas City", "World Of Trouble", "Trouble In Mind", "Strange Fruit", and "Six Cold Feet Of Ground". Tobacco Road was a real breakthrough for Lou – a set that again paired him with arranger Onzy Matthews, and which even more deeply explored the unique space between jazz, soul, and the blues that became Rawls' prime territory back in the 60s! Matthews' backings are hip and jazzy throughout – filled with bold horn touches from players that include Lou Blackburn, Curtis Amy, Sonny Criss, and even Horace Tapscott
– who's playing trombone here instead of his more familiar piano. Ray Crawford's guitar underscores a good number of the tracks here with that clean, lean, single-note style of his – but Lou is the clear star throughout with his deeply-voiced lyrics of older familiar tunes. Titles include his landmark reworking of "Tobacco Road", plus "Summertime", "Stormy Weather", "Rocking Chair", "Ol Man River", "St Louis Blues", and "Sentimental Journey". CD also features 2 bonus tracks – "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" and the previously unissued "Gloomy Sunday".