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.

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