Epic of an Urban Gentleman

by Emmoretta P. Jones

Whenever this soulful singer graced the stage,
He captivated people of every age.

Lou Rawls was a sharp-dressed brothah’ with a dazzling smile.
Poised and debonair, he exuded class and style.

He mesmerized the women, sending chills up their spines.
Especially when he sang his signature hit, “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine!”

A natural-born crooner, Lou had incredible range.
His mellow baritone shaped the eras of musical change.

In a league of his own, Mr. Rawls was neither typical nor mainstream,
With a voice as strong as black coffee, yet smooth like the cream.

That deep, resonant voice was a great part of his appeal.
Louis Allen Rawls was an artist from the ghetto who kept it real.

Who knew that on December 1, 1936
The world would be blessed with a sound like this?

Raised by his grandmother on Chicago’s South-side,
Lou sang with his pal, Sam Cooke, in the Baptist church choir. 

A back-road juke joint was the scene of his first gig.
From that humble start, Lou Rawls went on to make it big.

In 1962, an agent spotted his bluesy act.
Lou signed a record deal, and his bags were packed!

The skilled entertainer proved to be a melodic genius,
Forming his tune to several musical genres.

They included jazz, R&B, disco, pop…
Lou even laid the ground work for hip-hop!

I wonder if today’s rap artists even know,
That rap was a part of Lou Rawls’ earlier show?

With street-wise sophistication, he ‘talked that song.’
Some of these gold-recorded ‘Monologues’ are about 70-minutes long.

Giving first-hand account of poverty and strife,
A powerful testimony on the realities of city life.

For his “Dead End Street,” Mr. Rawls won a Grammy.
Destined for success, this would be the first of many.

Lou Rawls’ remarkable career spanned five decades!
Shattering those tired images of chauffeurs, butlers, and maids.

He serenaded us with “Lady Love,” yet Lou was a real man’s man—
Depicting Black pride in his award-winning “Natural Man.”

His list of accomplishments doesn’t stop at singing.
He also served in the military as well as did some acting.

Multifaceted and versatile, he collaborated with other celebrities—
Appearing on many commercials, cartoons, and TV series.

But, aside from entertaining, one of his greatest achievements yet,
Was joining forces with the UNCF!

Unable to go himself, he knew the value of a college education—
And launched a star-studded drive that would become his life-long dedication!

Since the 1980’s, when his “Parade of Stars” was first televised,
Lou, with Anheuser-Busch, helped thousands see their dreams realized.

The humanitarian and singing sensation made our hearts melt.
By the time of the millennium, he had more than sixty albums under his belt!

In the early 2000’s Lou Rawl’s star was still on the rise.
But, after many years of smoking, lung cancer would be the legend’s demise.

Simply put, Lou Rawls was one cool dude.
Though very sick, he continued to perform to packed rooms.

In January, 2006, we lost an American icon
Who left a legacy of music and education which carries on.

Chicago named S Wentworth for him in appreciation.
An honor well-deserved because he inspired many generations.

We miss you, Mr. Lou Rawls; you were truly one of a kind.
And you were right—another love like yours…we’ll never find…

Epic of an Urban Gentleman by Emmoretta P. Jones

© Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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