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Music Review: 'Here is Barbara Lynn' Reissue

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Some things just sound better on vinyl, and now our reviewer Meredith Ochs says that's the case with a reissue of an old album. It's by the singer and guitarist Barbara Lynn, and it's called "Here Is Barbara Lynn." It originally came out in late '60s, and Meredith Ochs says this reissue on vinyl is absolutely the way it should be heard.

MEREDITH OCHS, BYLINE: If you saw "Hairspray," John Waters' original cult-classic movie, you might already know Barbara Lynn from its soundtrack.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU'LL LOSE A GOOD THING")

BARBARA LYNN: (Singing) If you should lose me, oh yeah, you'll lose a good thing.

OCHS: This song was a top-10 hit for Barbara Lynn when it first appeared in 1962. Its success led her to tour with major R and B stars like James Brown and Otis Redding. Lynn appeared on "American Bandstand," and artists like The Rolling Stones covered her songs. Six years later, the song that started it all turned up on her major label debut.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU'LL LOSE A GOOD THING")

LYNN: (Singing) See yourself lose me, oh yeah. You'll lose a good thing, baby.

OCHS: Not only did Barbara Lynn write her own material, which was unusual at the time, she also played electric guitar, and she played it lefty.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS IS THE THANKS I GET")

LYNN: (Singing) I worked my fingers down to the bone, yeah.

OCHS: Lynn didn't just hold down the rhythm. She played riffs and leads, little bursts of notes that followed the patterns of her soulful singing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS IS THE THANKS I GET")

LYNN: (Singing) Baby, baby.

OCHS: Her voice and her lyrics were confident and sophisticated. Lynn was and still is a sight to see - petite and sleek, often clad in a sparkly dress, bending and tugging at the strings on her ax.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS IS THE THANKS I GET")

LYNN: (Singing) But this is the thanks I get, yeah. This is the thanks I get, baby.

OCHS: Released in 1968, Barbara Lynn's third album is a period piece, a prime example of late '60s soul music - one long dance party. Sweet, clean instrumentation and a little bit of echo.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOU'RE LOSING ME")

LYNN: (Singing) If I told you once, I told you time and again. If you don't do right, I'll find another man. You're losing me, baby. And I just want to let you know it, know it. You're losing me, daddy. And I just - and I just got to show it.

OCHS: When this album was first released it was supposed to make Barbara Lynn an even bigger star, but it didn't turn out that way. In the decades that followed, she recorded and performed very little, choosing to devote more time to raising her family.

But Lynn's story doesn't end there, she came back to music in the 1990s. Now at age 72, she's as vibrant a performer as ever. It's fitting that this album has been reissued on vinyl. Just like Barbara Lynn, vinyl records have made a comeback, even though they never completely went away because they sound so good.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MIX IT UP BABY")

LYNN: (Singing) Yeah, yeah, yeah, everybody - I want you to dig it. I want you to dig it.

SIEGEL: Meredith Ochs on the reissue of "Here Is Barbara Lynn."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MIX IT UP BABY")

LYNN: (Singing) I want you to mix it up, baby, yeah. I want you to mix it up, baby, yeah. I want you to mix it up, baby, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.