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The Jamie Singles Collection

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Album Review

Don't be deterred by the cheap cover art, just-the-facts title, and 32 short selections spread over two discs when one could have sufficed. This is a terrific compilation of music from one of soul music's many under-the-radar names. Although Barbara Lynn was born and raised in Texas, she personified the lazy beats, greasy horns, and chiming piano that characterized early-'60s New Orleans R&B. These 15 singles, sequenced chronologically (with two unreleased rarities), capture the crack studio band (including a young, pre-Dr. John, Mac Rebennack) led by producer Huey P. Meaux. Only a few, such as the classic "You'll Lose a Good Thing" and "Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin')" troubled the charts but, like many similar collections, the songs are uniformly well played and sung with plenty of obscure gems scattered throughout. Although only in her early twenties when cutting these sides, Lynn's husky voice, somewhat like that of her peer Irma Thomas, shows a confidence belying her young age. She's equally at home with midtempo dance fare like the Motown-styled "I've Taken All I'm Gonna Take" and with the bluesy ballads that mimic the style of her biggest hit and only crossover success, "You'll Lose a Good Thing," although some stabs at county don't really connect. A few tracks, such as 1965's "All I Need is Your Love" are marred by sappy background singers popular at the time, and the previously unavailable "Silly of Me" is nearly derailed by crowd sounds so obviously laid over the studio recordings, they sound literally phoned in. Why they weren't wiped out for this compilation, especially since the song hasn't been released prior to this, isn't clear. But generally, this is classy New Orleans soul performed with the blues-influenced, swampy vibe the city is known for. Lynn played guitar, left-handed no less, yet the liner notes don't specify which cuts she can be heard on. She was also one of the few female singers of her time to write her own material,and some of this set's finest selections such as "(Don't Pretend) Just Lay It on the Line" are Lynn originals. Despite the cheesy layout, Bill Dahl's five pages of liners are typically informative, cohesive, and complete. Additionally, the music seems remastered, although there is no indication of that, which makes these songs jump out of the speakers, even if you have heard them before. Lynn had a few more hits as she moved to other labels, but these were the tunes that put her on the map.


Born: 16 January 1942 in Beaumont, TX

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer/guitarist Barbara Lynn was a rare commodity during her heyday. Not only was she a female instrumentalist (one of the very first to hit the charts), but she also played left-handed -- quite well at that -- and even wrote some of her own material. Lynn's music often straddled the line between blues and Southern R&B, and since much of her early work -- including the number one R&B hit "You'll Lose a Good Thing" -- was recorded in New Orleans, it bore the sonic imprint of the Crescent City. Lynn...
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The Jamie Singles Collection, Barbara Lynn
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