Dedicated: A Salute to the 5 Royales
Lowman Pauling wrote most of the songs for his band the 5 Royales, an influential, if largely forgotten, R&B and doo-wop band that had a string of hits in the early ‘50s, some of which were covered a decade later by Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles, and others. The 5 Royales are credited with being a precursor to soul music, and it’s easy to understand how a young Steve Cropper was taken by their sound, and especially Pauling’s funky yet never flashy guitar playing. Dedicated is a labor of love, and Cropper gets a lot of help here from fellow Pauling admirers. Along with a backing band that includes bassist David Hood and keyboard player Spooner Oldham, legends in their own rights, Cropper invited some talented friends to help, including B.B. King, Lucinda Williams, Brian May, Steve Winwood, John Popper, Bettye LaVette, Sharon Jones, Shemekia Copeland, Delbert McClinton, Buddy Miller, Willie Jones, Dylan LeBlanc, and Dan Penn. These musicians turn in some inspired performances worthy of Pauling’s timeless material. Though Pauling died in 1973, his musical legacy lives on in this fine tribute.