24 March 2008

Ah, Barbara Lynn..!

The video of Barbara Lynn (below) speaks for itself: I can't say what 'cool' is or was, but there it is, all right, 42 years ago and it hasn't dated a minute. (It's Ray Charles's What'd I Say, by the way.)

See update June 2010.

Barbara Lynn Ozen's records had simply 'Barbara Lynn' on them. I guess her best known song is her hit, You'll Lose A Good Thing (1962, #8 USA), slow and soulful, written when she was 14, so they say. The song of hers I love the most is (Oh Baby) We Got A Good Thing Goin' (1964): I already loved it when The Stones covered it on Out Of Our Heads (1965), but it's one of those cases where I went back later and found the original was the best.

Barbara Lynn is from Texas, born in 1942, and I assume that back in the early 60s she was unusual in being a female singer-songwriter who played guitar on her own records. (She plays left-handed: not sure if that's significant, but it's always mentioned.) Her earliest records, on Jamie and Tribe, are the ones I like the most, but don't let me put you off the records she put out on Atlantic from the late 60s.

She mostly wrote her own material, but when I looked up You'll Lose A Good Thing and (Oh Baby) We Got A Good Thing Goin' at BMI I found them under the name of Huey Meaux, her longtime manager and producer, although the US Copyright Office shows words & music by Barbara Lynn Ozen.

If you want to read more, skip the Wikipedia article this time (take my word!), and read Mick Patrick's story of Barbara Lynn at Cha Cha Charming: you won't find a better account or appreciation of her career. There's also a nice news article from 2000 at the Austin Chronicle's website. There is a Barbara Lynn MySpace page, though it looks a bit inactive, and of course it's hard to say whether she's running it in person. Huey Meaux is a whole other story, but Red Kelly tells it well from that angle over at his blog The B Side, where you can grab a nice song from her Atlantic days, Why Can't You Love Me (1968).

Or you can forgo the research and just play that video again.

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