12 Songs, 30 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though she would eventually go on to record a number of classic deep soul sides for Jerry Wexler at Atlantic records, Barbara Lewis began her career in Detroit with this stunning, understated full- length, filled with mournful, sweet-soul ballads and lush vocal harmonies. The title track, “Hello Stranger,” was notable at the time for its prominent use of the Hammond B-3 organ, which transformed the song from an unremarkable Smokey Robinson-style ballad into a nationwide hit. It inspired countless imitations and arguably initiated the genre known as “low-rider soul,” which saw young Los Angelenos imitating the slow tempos and organ-heavy atmosphere of Barbara Lewis’ signature song. The remainder of Lewis’ debut is nearly as compelling as her breakout hit, and many of the songs here feature the sweet harmonies of legendary Chi-town vocal group the Dells. Though Lewis would go on to record classic material for Stax and Atlantic, her debut is home to her most lasting and distinctive work.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though she would eventually go on to record a number of classic deep soul sides for Jerry Wexler at Atlantic records, Barbara Lewis began her career in Detroit with this stunning, understated full- length, filled with mournful, sweet-soul ballads and lush vocal harmonies. The title track, “Hello Stranger,” was notable at the time for its prominent use of the Hammond B-3 organ, which transformed the song from an unremarkable Smokey Robinson-style ballad into a nationwide hit. It inspired countless imitations and arguably initiated the genre known as “low-rider soul,” which saw young Los Angelenos imitating the slow tempos and organ-heavy atmosphere of Barbara Lewis’ signature song. The remainder of Lewis’ debut is nearly as compelling as her breakout hit, and many of the songs here feature the sweet harmonies of legendary Chi-town vocal group the Dells. Though Lewis would go on to record classic material for Stax and Atlantic, her debut is home to her most lasting and distinctive work.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5
16 Ratings
16 Ratings
Frission

Wow haven't heard this one for a while

"Hello Stranger" was the epitome of my time as a young kid growing up. I love this song so much and brings back so many memories of a by-gone era. :(
The sound quality is as good as could be expected for the recording equipment allowed. In my opinion that gives it that oldies overtone.
It's a keeper

danreiner

Old album, great songs

I still have my original vinyl copy of this, and the sound quality of this version completely dwarfs the LP. Oh, Delao_California, the reason the sound is split between sides of the headphones is that all the instruments were recorded on one track, so moving tracks to one side for stereo songs means that all the instruments will be on one side.

Cjdelao

A little about this artist download

I dont want to discourage anyone from buying this album but if you type in barbra lewis you'll get top downloads now on some of her songs when playing on your ipod you will only her it from one side of the headphones mybe because they way she recorded it or something i really dont know but if i could get my money back from about 4 of the songs not the baby i'm yours LP vers that one is great i am addressing the other songs i purchased i would buy something else HAPPY shopping to all..

About Barbara Lewis

Pop-soul doesn't get much better than Barbara Lewis, whose seductive, emotive croon took "Hello Stranger" to number three in 1963. The Michigan native had been writing songs since the age of nine, and began recording as a teenager with producer Ollie McLaughlin, who also had a hand in the careers of Del Shannon, the Capitols, and Deon Jackson. Lewis wrote all of the songs on her debut LP (including "Hello Stranger") and confidently handled harmony soul numbers (some with backing by the Dells) and more pop-savvy tunes, some of which, like "Hello Stranger," were driven by an organ and a bossa nova-like beat. Follow-ups to "Hello Stranger" didn't sell nearly as well (although one of her singles, "Someday We're Gonna Love Again," was covered by the Searchers for a British Invasion hit). In the mid-'60s she began doing some recordings in New York City, with assistance from producers like Bert Berns and Jerry Wexler, that employed more orchestral arrangements and pop-conscious material. The approach clicked, both commercially and artistically: "Baby I'm Yours" and "Make Me Your Baby" were both big hits, and both among the best mid-'60s girl group-style productions. Lewis cut an album in the late '60s for Stax (on the Enterprise subsidiary) that, as one would expect, gave her sound a grittier approach, without compromising the smooth and poppy elements integral to the singer's appeal. It passed mostly unnoticed, though, and Lewis withdrew from the music business after a few other singles. The "beach music" scene of the Carolinas remains a bastion of appreciation for Lewis' records, which continue to enjoy popularity and airplay there decades after their original release. ~ Richie Unterberger

HOMETOWN
South Lyon, MI
BORN
February 9, 1943

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