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Atomic Baby

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Album Review

Most of Linda Hayes' singles are on this 21-track compilation, including her number two 1953 R&B hit "Yes I Know" and her lesser-known 1954 Top Ten 45, "Take Me Back." These 1952-1956 recordings don't include every last one of her releases — the 1954 single "Play It Right"/"Your Back's Out" and the 1959 single "Hubba Hubba"/"Take the Hand of a Fool" are missing, as are the early Platters singles on which she sang — but otherwise everything seems to be here. There really isn't much separating the pleasantly full-voiced Hayes from many other singers straddling the early-'50s jump blues/R&B era and the dawn of rock & roll, other than her Platters association, a deeper tone than was customary for female singers in the genre, and those two hits. That makes this collection of almost exclusive interest to '50s R&B specialists, as the songs are on the rather formulaic side, though "Yes I Know" is a natural standout owing to its semi-novelty as a sassy answer record (to Willie Mabon's number one R&B smash "I Know"). Like some other vocalists who had a bit of early- to mid-'50s R&B success, she sounds like she might have been better cast as a jazz singer, not coming by the more raucous edge required by the changing times as naturally as some other performers — a greater problem when some of her material edged closer to doo wop and rock & roll on her later recordings. Platters collectors will want to note the presence of a couple singles (including "My Name Is Annie," an "answer" record to the Midnighters' "Work with Me Annie") with the Platters on backup vocals; she also duets with her brother (and Platters singer) Tony Williams on "Oochi Pachi."


Born: 10 December 1923 in Linden, NJ

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s

Sister of Platters singer Tony Williams, Linda Hayes had a fairly lengthy career of her own as an R&B singer in the 1950s, recording singles between 1952 and 1959 on the Recorded in Hollywood, King, and Antler labels. Her biggest success by far was the 1953 number two R&B hit "Yes I Know," an "answer" record to Willie Mabon's R&B chart-topper "I Don't Know." "Take Me Back" briefly slipped into the R&B Top Ten in early 1954, but otherwise she had little commercial success, and boasted relatively little...
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