Monday, February 06, 2012

Barbara Lynn Has A Blues and Soul Situation

Barbara Lynn is one of the great unheralded blues and soul performers. This was a review I wrote back in 2004 that appeared in the September/October 2004 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 270). I have made some minor stylistic changes.

One of the pleasures of attending the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans was the chance to see the legendary Barbara Lynn perform. Its been four decades when the left-handed guitarist singer and songwriter had a hit with You'll Lose a Good Thing, and while she had some other hits, none reached that level. Yet she is still well remembered by many from this recording.

Most recently she had albums on Bullseye Blues and Antone’s. The Texas Dialtone label is building a strong catalog of authentic Texas blues and Lynn is the artist on the label's latest release, Blues and Soul Situation. This is perhaps her best album of recent years with very strong material and a strong studio band.

She opens with a nice funky groove on the sultry You Make Me So Hot, where her man is making her burn enough and Barbara can't get enough. Against a hot New Orleans rhumba groove, Lynn tells her man what it mans to treat a women so mean on You Don't Sleep at Night, with Kaz Kazanoff taking a nice tenor solo as Nick Connolly lays down a Professor Longhair tinged piano solo.

Barbara Lynn at 2004 Ponderosa Stomp
Photo © Ron Weinstock
She warns the man on You Better Quit It before he pushes her too far. Moving on a Groove is a dance number with a groovy sixties feel to it (reminds me of Archie Bell & the Drells) while the following He Ain't Gonna Do Right (by the great songwriting team of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham) may be the top song here as Lynn sings about how the man is using her for his toy, as he ain't gonna do Barbara right but rather do her dirty. She enlivens Slim Harpo's I Got Love If You Want It and Sugar Coated Love (associated with Lazy Lester) with Hash Brown adding the harp on the latter number.

She adds her very considered guitar throughout, but the focus throughout this recording is her singing and the soul she brings to these blues, blues ballads and soul serenades. This is a stunning release and its great to have Barbara Lynn in such great form.

Here is Barbara Lynn in performance at the 2010 Ponderosa Stomp.

No comments: