Still, he wouldn't trade those early experiences on the road.
"I got to do man things at an early age," he laughed.
Rawls joined Wright full-time in the 1970s and stayed with him until the elder bluesman's death in 1980. After Wright's death, the band continued for another decade. Rawls stayed with it but also began performing and recording on his own. It's been different since he began calling his own shots.
"I'm more of a songwriter and an entertainer," he explained, then added, "I play. Now, I can play, but I concentrate on giving a great song to the public. I want to be known for putting out a great song -- not 86 guitar solos."
Rawls pointed out there are plenty of other guys who do that. He joked, "Their names I won't mention, but they know who they are."
Rawls grew up with blues and soul music, nudged along the path by his grandfather and people around him. It's probably not surprising that some of his children have followed him into the genre.
"My daughter, she's Destini Rawls, the blues child. Sometimes she sings with me at some of the bigger shows and festivals."
He also has twin grandchildren. Rawls said they just started walking, and this summer, they'll make their blues festival debut on the 4th of July.
"They were born into it," he said.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.