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Barbara Lynn: A Good Woman - Compl.Tribe & Jet Stream 66-79 (CD)
It’s a long journey from London to Fleetwood in Lancashire, but I felt it would be worth it. Barbara Lynn, one of my favourite soul stars, 38 years into her recording career, was booked to play her debut British show. A fear of flying had prevented her from visiting the UK before, so this would be my first chance to see her live. I’m glad I made the effort, as she was great that night , She sang many of the songs featured on this CD, which gathers the singles issued on her manager Huey P Meaux’s Tribe and Jet Stream labels and assorted rarities, including a pair of unissued titles.
Barbara Linda Ozen was born in Beaumont, Texas in 1942. At school she mastered the piano and ukulele, so her parents bought her a guitar – a right-handed Gibson, which the young southpaw flipped upside-down and taught herself to play, Hendrix-style. In the mid-50s she was taken under the wing of blues singer Clarence “Bon Ton” Garlow, who allowed musically inclined youngsters to hang out and rehearse at his studio. By 1961 she was creating a buzz in local nightspots with her all-girl group Bobbie Lynn & the Idols.
Her recording debut came in 1962 with ‘Dina & Patrina’, released on Eric, a small logo owned by colourful local producer Meaux, with whom she would remain under contract until the end of the 1970s. Sensing he was onto a winner, he brokered a deal for her next single, ‘You’ll Lose A Good Thing’, to be issued on Jamie, a label with superior distribution to his own. The plan paid off when the record knocked Ray Charles off the top of the R&B charts.
After three years with Jamie, Meaux switched Barbara to his own Tribe label. Many of her compositions were what might be termed women’s songs, and one would be hard pressed to find a better example than her Tribe debut, ‘I’m A Good Woman’. Barbara followed up with the original version of Dan Penn and Rick Hall’s ‘You Left The Water Running’ and a bluesy reading of the Joe Tex-penned ‘Watch The One (That Brings The Bad News)’, the kind of strong narrative number at which she excelled. Her fourth and final Tribe 45 was ‘I Don’t Want A Playboy’, another corker. A brief stay at Atlantic Records in 1968 was followed by a quiet spell, during which newly married Barbara concentrated on family life. She resumed recording in the 70s, this time for Jet Stream. Her releases for the label were sporadic, but included great numbers such as ‘Movin’ On A Grove’ and ‘Give Him His Freedom’.
The show in Fleetwood was 12 years ago now, and Barbara hasn’t been back to the UK since. Maybe one of these days I’ll make it to Texas to see her perform live again. Until then, I have a stack of 45s, LPs and CDs to remind me how great she is. “A Good Woman: The Complete Tribe & Jet Stream Singles 1966-1979” can go on top.
By Mick Patrick
Article properties: Barbara Lynn: A Good Woman - Compl.Tribe & Jet Stream 66-79 (CD)
|Lynn, Barbara - A Good Woman - Compl.Tribe & Jet Stream 66-79 (CD) CD 1|
|01||I'm A Good Woman||Barbara Lynn|| |
|02||Running Back||Barbara Lynn|| |
|03||You Left The Water Running||Barbara Lynn|| |
|04||Until I'm Free||Barbara Lynn|| |
|05||Watch The One (That Brings The Bad News)||Barbara Lynn|| |
|06||Club A Go-Go||Barbara Lynn|| |
|07||New Kind Of Love||Barbara Lynn|| |
|08||I Don't Want A Playboy||Barbara Lynn|| |
|09||(Until Then) I'll Suffer||Barbara Lynn|| |
|10||Take Your Love And Run||Barbara Lynn|| |
|11||You Better Quit It||Barbara Lynn|| |
|12||Nice And Easy||Barbara Lynn|| |
|13||Movin' On A Groove||Barbara Lynn|| |
|14||Disco Music||Barbara Lynn|| |
|15||Takin' His Love Away (Ain't Gonna Be Easy)||Barbara Lynn|| |
|16||How You Think I Can Live With Somebody (...)||Barbara Lynn|| |
|17||Take Your Time||Barbara Lynn|| |
|18||Give Him His Freedom||Barbara Lynn|| |
|19||Sugar Coated Love||Barbara Lynn|| |
|20||I Warned You Baby||Barbara Lynn|| |
|21||I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry||Barbara Lynn|| |
|22||You Finally Got Your Good Thing Back||Barbara Lynn|| |
|23||Call My Bluff Baby||Barbara Lynn|| |
|24||Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye||Barbara Lynn|| |
Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')
Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')
Female singers who played guitar were all but unheard of on the R&B scene, let alone a southpaw. But that's what Barbara Lynn brought to the table. Born January 16, 1942 in Beaumont, Texas, Barbara Lynn Ozen was raised around the blues and got started playing young. "I'd have had to be about 12, 13," she says. "I was already writing too, at an early age--writing poems, setting them to music." Her initial fret activities came on a different axe. "My mother went out and bought me an Arthur Godfrey ukulele," says Barbara. "I think it was $10.95." Lynn's influences ranged from Gatemouth Brown and Ruth Brown to Etta James and Brenda Lee—and, of course, the King. "I had this girl group that I named Bobbie Lynn & The Idols," she says. "We were doing some of Elvis' stuff, like 'Jailhouse Rock,' 'Don't Be Cruel.'"
Swamp pop singer Joe Barry played a big role in Barbara's discovery. "Joe heard about this young black girl playing across the state line at a place called the Palomino Lounge," she says. "He talked to me and told me that his manager's name was Huey Meaux. And he went back and told Huey, and Huey drove to Beaumont, Texas, and talked to my mother and father and got their permission to record me." Meaux took Lynn to Cosimo Matassa's New Orleans studio and cut her plaintive original You'll Lose A Good Thing. "It was a true story. I was going with this guy, and we had a little spat like most people do. I told him, 'If you lose me, you're gonna lose a good thing!'"
With Meaux at the board, Lynn encored with Second Fiddle Girl, You're Gonna Need Me, a recasting of Elvis's Don't Be Cruel, and the love triangle lament (I Cried) At Laura's Wedding before the rocking Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin') made a #69 pop impression. More people know the tune today because it was covered on 'The Rolling Stones, Now!' "Huey called me one evening and told me that he had someone that wanted to speak to me," says Barbara. "And it was Mick Jagger. 'God, The Rolling Stones want to talk to me?' (Huey) said, 'Yeah, doll, I think they want to do one of your songs!' I said, 'Oh, great!' And Mick talked to me, and he said, 'Yeah, Barbara, we would like to do "Oh! Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')," with your permission, of course.' I said, 'You've got it!'"
After a long and successful run on Jamie, Meaux moved Lynn to his own Tribe logo for the 1966 hit You Left The Water Running before she signed with Atlantic for the solid-selling This Is The Thanks I Get in '68 and 1971's (Until Then) I'll Suffer. She still wickedly wields her left-handed guitar, and Oh! Baby is one of her live staples.
- Bill Dahl -
Various - Sweet Soul Music
31 Scorching Classics From 1964
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