BARBARA LYNN: The Jamie Singles 1962 – 1965 (Label: Jamie, Guyden )

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BARBARA LYNN: The Jamie Singles 1962 - 1965

Soul’s history books are stuffed with unique talents. It’s my contention that there’s no talent as unique as the wonderful Barbara Lynn. Why? Well first off, she has an easily-identified but one-off, atmospheric vocal style that’s a deceptively simple cocktail of real R&B, southern soul and Texan blues. Secondly she accompanies herself on guitar – but her playing is no run-of-the-mill guitar picking. You see, Barbara plays left handed and that demand has added another unique strand to her performances. Add to all that the strange geographical pedigree of her recordings (born and raised in Texas, recorded chiefly in New Orleans and early records released on a classic Philadelphia label) and you’ll understand the basis of my claim up top. If you still doubt me, then grab a listen to this lovely, double 32 tracker that collects together all the A and B sides that her maverick manager Huey P Meaux licensed to Philly’s iconic Jamie label. Ms. Ozen’s two biggest hits form the natural focal points of the collection and even after more than forty years both ‘You’ll Loose a Good Thing’ and ‘Oh Baby We Got A Good Thing Going’ still sound superbly fresh and mould-breaking. It’s easy to hear why – in 1964 – a young Mick Jagger was so gobsmacked (and what gob to smack!) by the latter that he begged Barbara to allow him to cover the song on a Stones’ LP. Other goodies on the album include a jaunty ‘To Love Or Not To Love’ (flavours of ‘Spanish Harlem’ here), the tearful ‘Laura’s Wedding’, and the string-heavy ‘Don’t Spread It Around’. When original songs weren’t forthcoming, Mr. Meaux was quick to have Barbara record covers but the way the lady treated Elvis Presley’s ‘Don’t Be Cruel’, Barrett Strong’s ‘Money’ and Ray Charles’ Careless Hands’ (that one covered in the UK by Des O’Connor, by the way!) you might as well forget the originals. She demolishes and recreates all three. For real collectors there’s a couple of previously unreleased songs – ‘Silly Of Me’ and ‘That’s Something I Can’t Take’ and both stand to enhance the legend of Barbara Lynn Ozen.
(BB) 4/5