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Released: October 25, 1990
Originally Released: 1987
1.Where There's Smoke There's Fire
3.Pardon Me Lady
4.Where Can A Man Go From Here
6.That's Where It's At
7.Part Time Love
8.If I Had To Do It All Over
9.You're Good For Me
10.You Can't Keep A Good Man Down
11.You Can't Win With A Losing Hand
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Personnel: Johnnie Taylor (vocals).
Unknown Contributor Role: Johnnie Taylor.
While the "Raw" part of the title may be overstating the case just a bit, "Blues" describes this disc pretty well, thank you -- on his fourth album, Johnnie Taylor shifts his focus away from Stax's trademark Southern soul stylings towards leaner and grittier blues-based performances, a style he'd already shown a knack for on his earlier sets. Raw Blues still walks a line between soul and blues, with the sweet-and-sour tone of The Memphis Horns sometimes stacking the deck in favor of the former, but "Part Time Love", "Hello Sundown" and "You Can't Keep A Good Man Down" generate a potent late-night mood vibe which match the downcast authority of Taylor's voice. And if the always air-tight performances of the Stax studio crew (including Steve Cropper and Isaac Hayes) pack enough heat to turn "You Can't Win With A Losing Hand" and "That Bone" into potent dance floor material, Taylor's rough but passionate delivery never lets this get too close to the Land of the Slick. A strong and heartfelt set that serves as an important precursor to Taylor's later blues-oriented sets for Malaco. ~ Mark Deming