Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Hello Stranger: Best of
Genres: Pop, R&B, Rock
Pop-soul Doesn't Get Much Better Than Barbara Lewis, Whose Seductive, Emotive Croon Took "Hello Stranger" to #3 in 1963. The Michigan Native Had Been Writing Songs Since the Age of Nine, and Began Recording as a Teenager w... more »
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Pop-soul Doesn't Get Much Better Than Barbara Lewis, Whose Seductive, Emotive Croon Took "Hello Stranger" to #3 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'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, 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.
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The Queen Of Coy
Sherron Gerald | 09/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When discussing the best solo female vocalists to work for Atlantic Records in the 1950s and 1960s, the first names to jump to mind are Ruth Brown and Aretha Franklin. Then comes LaVern Baker. Seldom will anyone mention Barbara Lewis.
And that's too bad, because this lady from Detroit had ten Billboard Pop Hot 100 single hits for Atlantic between 1963 and 1967, and in this almost perfect package from Rhino, complete with extensive liner notes, you get ALL of them. Also included is her first record for producer Ollie McLaughlin, the regional 1961 hit My Heart Went Do Dat Da. If there is a quibble, it's the omission of six of the B-sides.
Barbara's voice, although not as powerful as the afore-mentioned three, was nevertheless distinctive, while at the same time suggesting a coyness and sophistication that her co-singers lacked. And it didn't matter if she was delivering a strong blues message or a romantic ballad, the quality was always there, as is readily apparent in the hauntingly sensual Hello Stranger which made it to # 1 R&B and # 3 Hot early in 1963 b/w Think A Little Sugar, and backed by The Dells.
Not a bad debut for a 20-year-old, which makes it hard to understand why the follow up Straighten Up Your Heart was shut out on the R&B charts, but did score a decent # 15 on the Adult Contemporary charts as well as reaching # 43 Hot 100 in late summer 1963. Late in 1963, and for all of 1964, Billboard suspended the R&B charts, and so whenever you see a R&B listing for any song for that period, it's a result added arbitrarily at a later date for "historical purposes" and always matches the Hot 100 Pop listing. As, for example, her next hit, Puppy Love, which shows as # 38 Hot 100/R&B in early 1964, along with its flipside Snap Your Fingers which also charted at # 71 Hot 100/R&B.
By 1965, however, the R&B charts had been restored and that summer Baby, I'm Yours went to # 5 R&B/# 11 Hot 100 b/w I Say Love, followed late that year by Make Me Your Baby (# 9 R&B/# 11 Hot 100) b/w Love To Be Loved. Yet another to miss out on the R&B charts was Don't Forget About Me which almost missed the Pop Hot 100 as it could only manage a # 91 in February 1966 b/w It's Magic. But just when it appeared the listening audience and record-buying public may indeed have forgotten about her, Make Me Belong To You climbed to # 28 Hot 100/# 36 R&B in late summer 1966 b/w Girls Need Loving Care.
But not only would that be her final R&B hit, it's hard to figure out why selections like Baby What Do You Want Me To Do? (# 74 Hot 100 in November 1966 b/w I Remember The Feeling) and I'll Make Him Love Me (# 72 in spring 1967 b/w Love Makes The World Go Round) did not fare better. The same holds true for her up-tempo version of Someday We're Gonna Love Again which, in my humble opinion, is better than the 1964 hit version by The Searchers, but which made no impact at all on any singles chart.
With the insert you get seven full pages of liner notes written by noted music historian David Nathan, a complete discography of the contents, a couple of more nice shots of the beautiful Barbara, and this forward she wrote herself: "What I like best about the Rhino package is that there are some songs on here that I'd Forgotten! I thought the selections were well chosen and include some of my better performances, and I think this collection will stand up more than some of the other packages that have been done before." Amen to that. Easily one of the best "best of" compilations on the market today. Not to be missed."
Why Don't They Sing Softly Any More?
Sherron Gerald | Wiggins, MS | 01/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why does every modern female singer want to sound like Whitney Houston? American Idol is such a screaming contest!
Barbara Lewis' beautiful, soft voice is relaxing me now, as I sit here at my computer. Baby I'm Yours was the most popular of her songs when I was in high school, but I fondly remember quite a few of the others.
I'd definitely recommend this CD!"
T. Leavitt | 02/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great CD. I was only familiar with Barbara's hit's, "Hello Stranger" being my favorite. So I was pleasantly surprised to find several more songs with that sound, namely "How Can I Say Goodbye" and "Spend A Little Time". Just sublime vocals with a haunting, heartbroken undercurrent, and that trademark organ."