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Just Walkin' In The Rain

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Album Review

Although the Prisonaires are remembered for the song "Just Walkin in the Rain," this collection proves that they were a fine pop/gospel group. Johnny Bragg was a huge fan of the Ink Spots and their lead singer, Bill Kenny, and it's no wonder that much of the material on this disc has that smooth crooning style favored by pre-rock & roll vocal groups. This typically well-researched and documented Bear Family disc includes all of the Sun recordings and unreleased material, which shows the group attempting some hard-ass R&B (e.g., "Surleen" and "Rocking Horse") with mixed results. In terms of their overall output, it's the early stuff that's really compelling, as the Prisonaires proved that they could sing with the best of the vocal groups of the era. Nothing is as good as the title track, but that's a song for the ages, a beautiful piece of pop loneliness infused with near palpable heartbreak. Fans of this type of old-style harmony singing shouldn't pass this up.


Formed: 1953

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s

The Prisonaires were just that, five African-American male singers who also happened to be inmates of the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville. Despite what normally would be considered circumstances too onerous to start a pop music career, the Prisonaires were celebrities, albeit briefly, after the recording of the one and only hit record, "Just Walkin' in the Rain," which Sam Phillips released on Sun in 1953 -- a song that three years later became a million seller for Johnnie Ray. The band...
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