Johnny Rawls (from the album Tiger in a Cage) - Life in the city repeats for those stuck a loop. Johnny Rawls tells the story of a young man whose first steps took him into days that are filled with anger and resentment. Dead ends are down every path and the character in his tale becomes a “Tiger in a Cage”, the title track from Johnny’s recent release. As the background harmonies suggest the boy/man is ‘giving up hope’ as a lonely horn wails for his pain. It was a Christmas morning in Columbia, Mississippi when Johnny Rawls first heard The Blues through his grandfather’s guitar. The gift of music stuck with him, eventually becoming band leader for O.V. Wright, taking over his band when O.V. passed away in 1980 and continuing in the role until 1985.
Tiger in a Cage presents the resume of Johnny Rawls as “Born to Play the Blues”. Chopped funk guitar chords urge Johnny to hurry up and get in the car, heading to Memphis dialing in WDIA on “Red Cadillac” as Southern Soul seeps through the Blue walls of “Reckless Heart”. Tiger in a Cage introduces “Lucy” as “Southern Honey” gets a little sweeter on the second line drumming that propels the tune forward. Johnny Rawls wraps a soulful delivery around his Blues. He offers versions for tracks on Tiger in a Cage, slowly stepping into Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party” until the company arrives and the track heads for the dance floor. He borrows “Beast of Burden” from The Rolling Stones and picks up the beat on Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love is Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)”.