Acklin, Barbara


Band members               Related acts

- Barbara Acklin (RIP 1998) - vocals

 

 

- Barbara Allen

 

Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Love Makes a Woman

Company: Brunswick

Catalog: BL 754137

Year: 1968

Country/State: Oakland California

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; small cut out hole

Available: 1

Catalog number: 5998

Price: $40.00

Co-produced by Carl Davis and Eugene Record, 1968's "Love Makes a Woman" remains a curiosity to me.  Widely regarded as one of Acklin's best albums, to my ears the set's always been a mild disappointment.  Musically the album's certainly highly commercial serving as a nice showcase for Acklin's great voice.  Also noteworthy, Acklin was credited with penning three of the songs including the album's best effort -  'Please Sunrise Please'.  Unfortunately, Davis and Record badly misjudged Acklin's strengths in surrounding her with a disproportionate number of MOR efforts.  Geez, what were they thinking giving her two Bacharach-David numbers to cover?  Tracks such as 'Come And See Me Baby' and 'I've Got You Baby' made it clear that Acklin was more than capable of handling hardcore soul and R&B, but too often the results sounded like something out of the Dionne Warwick catalog.  Anyone doubting those comments need only listen to 'What The World Needs Now Is Love', her cover of 'The Look Of Love', or 'Come and See Me' (where she actually sounded a little bit like Warwick.  What a waste of talent.  Elsewhere the title track b/w 'Come and See Me Baby' (Brunswick catalog number 55379) provided Acklin with her first top-20 pop hit. In turn the parent album proved a substantial R&B hit, as well as her only brush with pop chart success (# 186). (Always loved the metallic outfit Acklin was wearing on the cover- reminds me of a mobile disco ball ...)

 

 

- As much as I love the song, Acklin's cover of 'What The World Needs Now Is Love' simply didn't have much going for it.  As mentioned before, this one literally sounded like Dionne Warwick trying to channel Dusty Springfield.  Competent, but hardly original, or engaging.   rating: ** stars

- Echo those earlier comments for Acklin's cover of 'The Look Of Love'.  Why bother covering a song if it was a rote cover of the original?.   rating: ** stars

- Co-written with husband Eugene Record, 'The Old Matchmaker' was an odd performance.  The pair seemed intent on showcasing Acklin' as an MOR talent rather than a soul artist.  In fact the best thing on this one were the backing vocals (The Artistics?).    rating: ** stars  

- Four songs into the album you finally got a chance to hear Acklin's true talents.  Another Record composition, 'Come And See Me Baby' was a nice soul ballad that served to showcase Acklin's vulnerable voice.  Great hook !    rating: **** stars

- ' I've Got You Baby' had a great melody, but it was buried under a hackneyed arrangement.  Adding to the problem, Acklin didn't simply sound very comfortable singing in such a high key.    rating: ** stars  

- Thankfully the title track rescued side one.  A classic slice of late-1960s soul, this one had it all - great melody, that you'll be humming in an instant, gutsy vocal, great backing vocals ...  Great choice for a single.   rating: **** stars 

- 'Please Sunrise Please' may have been the album's prettiest song.  A slow, pleading ballad, the track had a great melody and one of Acklin's best performances.    rating: **** stars  

- 'Your Sweet Loving' was another pretty ballad, but on this one Acklin's voice sounded sharp and bitter.  When she reached for the higher notes it was actually almost painful to hear.    rating: ** stars  

- Three ballads in a row is a lot for anyone to put up with and to some extent  'Yes I See The Love (I Missed)' suffered from poor placement.  Had it been separated by a couple of up tempo numbers it would have rated substantially higher.  That said, taken on its own the song wasn't half bad.  A shade too MOR-ish, but far better than the Bacharach covers.    rating: *** stars

- Hum, another cover of a MOR-classic.  Like the pair of Bacharach-David covers, her version of 'To Sir With Love' was professional, but wasn't going to make you forget the original.    rating: ** stars

- As much as liked the title track, my pick for standout performance would go to the closer - 'Be By My Side'.  Another Record-Acklin original, this up tempo soul number was simply fantastic.  Anyone who was wondering if Acklin was really a soul singer, or simply a Dionne Warwick clone, need only listen to this one.   Warwick could never have pulled off such a gutsy performance.  This was the one that Brunswick should have tapped as a single.    rating: ***** stars

 

As far as a debut went, this one wasn't bad.  With a couple of minor changes it could have easily been a soul classic, but that's nothing more than hindsight and speculation ...  Wirth owning for the title track and 'Be By My Side'.


"Love Makes a Woman" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) What The World Needs Now Is Love  (Burt Bacharach - Hal David) - 2:25
2.) The Look Of Love   (Burt Bacharach - Hal David) -2:23 
3.) The Old Matchmaker   (Eugene Record - Barbara Acklin) - 2:54
4.) Come And See Me Baby   (Eugene Record) - 2:47
5.) I've Got You Baby   (James Cleveland - Karl Tarleton) - 2:14
6.) Love Makes A Woman   (Carl Davis - Eugene Record - William Sanders) - 2:49

 

(side 2)

1.) Please Sunrise Please   (Eugene Record - Barbara Acklin) - 2:50
2.) Your Sweet Loving   (B. Butler) - 2:37
3.) Yes I See The Love (I Missed)   (Eugene Record) - 2:34
4.) To Sir With Love   (Marc Loudon - Don Black) - 2:24
5.) Be By My Side   (Eugene Record - Barbara Acklin) - 2:36

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Someone Else's Arms

Company: Brunswick

Catalog: BL 754156

Year: 1970

Country/State: Oakland California

Grade (cover/record): G / VG

Comments: split spine; some ring wear; small cut out hole; original inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog number: 4108

Price: $20.00

 

Critics tend to slam 1970's Carl David and Eugene Record produced "Someone Else's Arms".  While there's some merit to those criticisms, the album isn't all that different than her previous Brunswick efforts, meaning it contains a couple of outstanding tracks that are unfortunately surrounded by way too much fluff.  To my ears the big problem here remains Brunswick's desire to market Acklin as a pop performer.  Surrounding her with faceless, over-orchestrated pop crapola like 'Is It Me', 'Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)' and 'More (Theme from Mondo Cane)' simply did nothing to showcase her considerable talents.  Acklin was far more impressive when she stuck to more soul-oriented material such as the self-penned 'Someone Else's Arms' and 'After You'.  In fact if you want to hear how good she sounds when she toughens up, check out the rock guitar propelled 'What's It Gonna Be'.  Unfortunately, for every standout track you've got to put up with something like 'The Spinning Wheel'.  Certainly a mixed success, but like most of her catalog, worth hunting for.

"Someone Else's Arms" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Someone Else's Arms   (Barbara Acklin - Eugene Records) - 4:16

2.) After You   (Barbara Acklin - Eugene Records) - 2:30

3.) Is It Me   (Barbara Acklin - Eugene Records) - 3:41

4.) Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)   (Antonio Carlos Jobim - Gene Lees) - 3:37

5.) What's It Gonna Be   (Jerry Ragavoy - Mort Shuman) - 3:32

5.) More (Theme from Mondo Cane)   (Ritz Ortolani - Nino Oliviero) - 3:11

 

(side 2)

1.) He's Just a Little Guy   (Barbara Acklin - Eugene Records) - 4:57

2.) More Today Than Yesterday   (Pat Upton) - 3:18

3.) The Spinning Wheel   (David Clayton-Thomas) - 3:30

4.) More Ways Than On   (Carl Davis - Eugene Record) - 3:40

5.) You've Been In Love Too Long   (William Stevenson - Ivy Joe Hunter - Paul Clarence) - 3:02

 

 

 

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