Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Final Ollie McLaughlin album
Randall E. Adams | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/13/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike most soul singers of the 1960s, Barbara Lewis enjoyed a continuous relationship with a single producer from the start of her recording career in 1962 until 1970. Also unusually, she was herself the source of some of her most memorable material including her huge hit "Hello Stranger" and much later, the hit-that-should-have-been "Thankful for What I Got." This is the only Barbara Lewis album available on CD. It is her last, released on Stax subsidiary Enterprise Records in 1970. There are no hits here because, unfortunately, the U.S. radio market had forgotten Barbara Lewis. Given the chance, I would rate this record three and one-half stars. It contains some fine vintage late-60s soul, such as the badly titled "That's a No No" and the Muscle Shoals-sounding "Slip Away." Her version of "Windmills of Your Mind" is a nice complement to Dusty Springfield's much better known version. There's a great ersatz Motown "Break Away." The Memphis sound gets the nod on "But You Know I Love You." There's almost a Philly feel to "You Made Me a Woman." Indeed, the album could be a tour of the U.S. soul scene in 1969. Oddly enough, this exceptionally smooth-voiced singer bogs down on a song written by that famous smooth-voiced male singer, Smokey Robinson, ("Oh, Be My Love"). Perhaps better results are obtained when Ms. Lewis' smooth singing is applied to somewhat edgier material. The variety of material on this album is fun from the perspective of 30 years on, but it also reflects a fatal uncertainty as to what Barbara Lewis should be doing in 1969. Sadly, there are no Barbara Lewis originals. The two singles added to the set for this CD release expose a shocking loss of direction. Who could have expected a cover of "Ask the Lonely" to be commercially viable in 1969? And her final Ollie McLaughlin-produced single "That's the Way I Like It" sounds like one of the more misguided efforts emanating from the still immature British soul scene at the time.So this is not a five star release. But if you have purchased the excellent, but too brief, Rhino collection and you enjoy the later tracks on that disc, you will definitely find this release worth owning. And let's all hope for the reissue of some of Barbara's other albums."
SMOOTH & SULTRY = BARBARA LEWIS
Bradly Briggs | TOLUCA LAKE, CALIFORNIA | 05/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Barbara Lewis had many classic hits in the 60's on the legendary Atlantic Records but as Aretha hit as the labels mega-superstar they lost interest in promoting artists such as Mary Wells, Dee Dee Sharp, Esther Phillips and Barbara Lewis!! As a result of this plus the radically changing music scene towards the end of the decade, Barbara Lewis signed with Enterprise a division of Stax Records and recorded this finely produced diverse set of soft soul delights!! Opening with a hit sounding "Baby That's A No No", Barbara clearly is at her soulful best and continues with a haunting and beautifully sung "Windmills Of Your Mind" which was a hit the same year by Dusty Springfield whose career is another one that should have had greater commercial success at this time. "Slip Away" is a really fine version of this familiar soft-rocker and "How Can I Tell You" is heartfelt and ever so smooth while "Break Away" is a rhythm cooker!! Smokey Robinson would have been a great choice of composer and producer for Barbara as she is perfect on Smokey's "Oh, Be My Love" and reminds me of his great work with the overlooked Soul-Legend Mary Wells! A beautiful passionate vocal make "Just The Way You Are Today" another winner and the lilting "Anyway" has a nice soft flow to it. Quite urgency make for an interesting take on "But You Know I Love You" and "You Made Me A Woman" sounds like it could have been a sixties soul hit as does the astrological "The Stars". Barbara's sixties chart hits had a certain feel to them and "Do I Deserve It Baby" fits into this mold but somehow although a fine version "Ask The Lonely" doesn't and it is surprising that it was released as a single!! So powerful was the Four Tops passionate version that nobody could have topped it or even come close!!! "Why Did It Take You So Long" and "That's The Way I Like It" are fine bonus tracks that flow well into the material on the original release. From what I can tell this is the last release from the largely forgotten Soulful Diva who remains one of the finest from the Soulful Sixties! Enjoy!!!!"