miércoles, 10 de junio de 2009
Barbara Lewis: Hello Stranger - The Best of (1994)
Some soul singers run hot, some run cool. Barbara Lewis ran cool, and thrillingly so. She was classy and sophisticated, even in the early to mid-'60s, a time where smooth pop-soul was the standard. Her voice was as soft as silk, and Atlantic gave her productions to match, resulting in an alluring body of work that still sounds seductive, yet comforting, years after their relief. The Michigan native had been writing songs since the age of nine, and began recording as a teenager with producer Ollie McLaughlin, who'd 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 were driven by an organ and a bossa nova-like beat. 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. Those three songs along with the bulk of her R&B hits, are all on this Rhino's excellent compilation, released in 1994. Since her work was so consistently good, there are inevitably some fan favorites missing, but everything here is excellent, representing her at her very best, and that means it's among the very best pop-soul of its time. To make it more complete, I added 9 more songs to the set, which make a total of 29.
Barbara Lewis sings 'Make Me Your Baby' (1965):