Johnny Goes Back

For his new release, Johnny heads home to Mississippi and wants you along for the ride.


The Johnny Rawls story began back in '51, down in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Hattiesburg is in Forrest County, in the deep south of a Deep South state. And in those parts, some of the greatest and most elusive pre-war blues and gospel artists once made their recordings. A time machine to 1936 might take you to a recording session featuring The Edgewater Crows, The Mississippi Jook Band, or The Gold Star Quartette. And while precious few of the recordings made then ever even made it to wax, the spirit of those sessions surely lingered. The essence of the music must have gotten into the soil and the water. Maybe it congealed in the humid air of the Hattiesburg environs, just waiting for a young bluesman like Johnny to breathe it all in during his formative years.


More than 80 years after The Edgewater Crows cut "Barbecue Bust", Johnny Rawls has gone home, looking for more of the deep soul we all need. And he presents his findings on his new Third Street Cigar Records album, Going Back To Mississippi.


The sting of Johnny's guitar (and that of collaborator Kenan Ozdemir) mingles with the sweat of a driving rhythm section and hot-as-hell horns on the title track and album opener, "Midnight Train." Elsewhere on the record, the vibe is comfortable and the lights are low, as you find on "If You Ever Get Lonely," or his duet with Ramona Collins on "Your Love." Johnny even sets the soul blues he's known for aside for the closer, "Love Machine," a piano-pumping get-up-and-dance winner that can stand next to Marcia Ball or even The Killer himself.


Another one for the books, Going Back To Mississippi is a trip you'll want to take right away.