I was at Andy Zax‘s house recently and pulled out what had been one of his biggest white whales for me to check out: Lou Rawls Sings for Cold Power Powder.

This wasn’t an album; it was a 10″ upon which Rawls recorded ten short, minute-long ads for Cold Power washing detergent. The fact that big stars recorded ads is nothing new but the fact that any of these records, which were intended to be played on radio stations and later discarded, survived is pretty damn extraordinary.

Andy thinks H.B. Barnum is behind the production here and I see no reason to disagree; it’s certainly right for the late 1960s, which is when the EP was likely recorded and distributed. Musically speaking, it’s competent enough though nothing will necessarily blow your mind…except for listening to Rawls shill for a detergent company, which is its own kind of awesomeness.

Thanks to Mr. Zax!

Lou Rawls: Strange Dirt 1
When Washing Goes Wrong 2
From Lou Rawls Sings For Cold Power Powder (A&R, 1960s)

  1. Not quite like “Strange Fruit.”
  2. So ominous!