Last February Smokey Robinson presented Barbara Lynn with a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. Her new CD, "Hot Night Tonight" reminds us why this talented lady should be the recipient of this prestigious musical honor. Barbara Lynn is a talented songwriter, a soulful singer and one electrifyin' southpaw guitar-woman!
Lynn first set the music scene afire in 1962 with her Top 10 hit, "You'll Lose a Good Thing" when she was eighteen. The Rolling Stones recorded her "Oh Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')" in 1964, and she made a couple appearances on American Bandstand. She toured with Gladys Knight, Jackie Nelson, B.B. King, James Brown, Ike and Tina Turner and became friends with Patti LaBelle. Her career was put on hold when she married and concentrated on family life, while raising three children. She played in clubs in L.A. and recorded sporadically throughout the years.
Lynn's latest album, "Hot Night Tonight" was produced by veteran producer Don Smith, and features special appearances by gifted musicians Ivan Neville and former Rolling Stones touring members Bernard Fowler, Daryl Jones and Pierre de Beauport. Her son Bachelor Wise incorporates an interesting rap interlude in her opening tune, "You're the Man"--and it works! The emphasis on the percussion and guitar might bring to mind some Santana music. Lynn's gutsy vocals could parallel the legendary Tina Turner!
Lynn changes the pace with a light, melodic tune, "Never Found a Man" (Eddie Lee Floyd/Alvertis Isbell/Booker T. Jones Jr.) before she dives into the steamy stand-out, "Hot Night Tonight!" This tune is the "Bolero of the Blues" as she seductively proclaims, "It's gonna be a hot night tonight 'cuz my baby's comin' home. Yah! It's gonna be a wild night tonight 'cuz my baby's coming home. He's been away too long, but now here's where he belongs..."
"Don't Hit Me No More" by Charles Scott Boyer Jr. tugs at the heartstrings, as her pleading vocals cut through to the bone. Changing pace again, her instrumental shuffle, "Lynn's Blues" will stir up dancers as her guitar licks flow through a "question and answer" pattern. Barbara Lynn demonstrates great versatility throughout this album. She nails the Isaac Hayes/David Porter tune, "When Something's Wrong " while Ivan Neville helps her out with backing vocals.
Barbara Lynn's CD, "Hot Night Tonight" has been billed as her comeback CD. Whether you remember her early hits or not, her music on this album is powerful, fun and memorable! In an interview with Amelia Feathers, Lynn said, "A lot of the older blues artists in this area have gotten settled and won't perform at a lot of the night clubs anymore--a lot of the musicians think because they are in their fifties and sixties they are too old. I don't see it like that, and in a few years I will be sixty and so far I want to keep going. " Let's hope Barbara Lynn's latest album is an indication of what great music is yet to come!
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This review is copyright © 2000 by Lisa Gault, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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