Jones, Linda


Band members               Related acts

- Linda Jones (RIP 1972) -- vocals

 

 

 

- The Jones Singers

- Linda Lane

 

 

 


 

Genre: soul

Rating: 5 stars *****

Title:  Hypnotized

Company: Loma

Catalog: 5907
Year: 1967

Country/State: Newark, New Jersey

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: minor edge wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6197

Price: $100.00

 

Wow !!!  I had a copy of  the Linda Jones 45 ''Hypnotized' sit in my to-listen-to pile for a couple of years ...  In an effort to clean up the 'man cave' I slapped in on the turntable fully expecting to hear some throwaway teen tune and was instead dumbfounded ...  This was simply one of the most amazing 45s I'd heard in years.   I knew nothing about Laura Jones, but immediately went online and bought her two studio albums - I literally can't remember the last time I did something like that.  How was it I missed out on Linda Jones?  Well it turns out I'm not the only person.

 

Contributing to her lack of widespread recognition; Jones died at the age of 28.  While she recorded quite a bit of material, most of it for smaller labels, and the cream of her catalog was released at a time when the airwaves were full of similarly talented female soul singers.  Still, anyone hearing Jones is going to be awed.

 

I know this isn't complete, but it's a start to a Linda Jones discography:

 

  As Linda Lane:

- 1963's 'Lonely Teardrops' b/w 'Cancel the Celebration' (Cub catalog K 9124)

 

  As Linda Jones

- 1964's 'Take the Boy Out of the Country' b/w 'I'm Taking Back My Love' (ATCO catalog number 45-6344)

- 1966's 'You Hit Me Like TNT' b/w 'Fugitive from Love' (Blue Cat catalog number 128)

- 1967's 'Hypnotized' b/w 'I Can't Stop Loving M Baby' (Loma catalog number 2070) # 20 pop; # 4 R&B

- 1967's 'What've I Done (To Make You Mad)' b/w 'Make Me Surrender (Baby, Baby, Please)' (Loma catalog number 2077) # 61 pop; # 8 R&B

- 1968's 'Give My Love a Try' b/w 'I Can't Stand It' (Loma catalog number 2085) # 93 pop; # 34 R&B

- 1968's 'My Heart Needs a Break' b/w 'The Things I've Been Through' (Loma catalog number 2091)

- 1968's ' 'What Can I Do' b/w Yesterday' (Loma catalog number 2099)

- 1968's 'It Won't Take Much (To Bring Me Back)' b/w 'I Who Have Nothing' (Loma catalog number 2105

- 1969's 'I Just Can't Live My Life' b/w 'My Heart (Will Understand)' (Warner Brothers/Seven Arts catalog number 7278)

- 1969's 'I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow' b/w 'That's When I'll Stop Loving You' (Neptune catalog number N-17)

- 1970's 'Ooh Baby You Move Me' b/w 'Can You Blame Me' (Neptune catalog number N-26)

 

She was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey.  Like so many others, her musical roots were in Gospel.  As a child she was a performing member of her family's Gospel group - The Jones Singers.  While working on a production line making dessert pies, she started her professional career, releasing an instantly obscure single for the Cub label under the stage name Linda Lane.  Her big break came in 1965 when she found a mentor/sponsor in the form of songwriter George Kerr.  Kerr helped her sign a contract with ATCO and under her given name she recorded a string of eleven 45s for five labels over the next five years.

 

Dropped by ATCO after one flop single, she released a similarly obscure 45 for Leiber & Stoller's Black Cat imprint, but hit the relative big time in 1967 when she was signed by Russ Regany's Loma Records. Jones subsequently made her label debut with the release of 'Hypnotized' which provided her with a significant pop and R&B hit.  

 

As was standard marketing practice for the time, taking advantage of her hit, Loma rushed Jones into the studio to record a supporting album - 1967's cleverly-titled "Hypnotized".  While mid-1960s 'rush job' albums usually featured a throwaway collection of haphazard covers and musical flotsam and jetsam, this George Kerr produced album was one of the rare exceptions to the rule.  Kerr was clearly entranced with Jones talent, taking great care to surround her with a uniformly strong selection of songs - there literally wasn't a weak track on the collection.  Similarly, keyboardist Richard Tee's arrangements framed her dynamic voice in the best possible light.  As for the performances themselves; wow this is literally a lost classic.  Jones had a fantastic voice that was good on both ballads and up tempo material.  You were left to wonder how any 23 year old could sing with so much 'experience' in her delivery - check out her mesmerizing performance on 'You Canít Take It' and the bluesy 'Things Iíve Been Through (Loving You)'.  To my ears, she was easily as impressive as prime Aretha Franklin.   Equally impressive, according to Kerr, most of the songs were recorded in a maximum of three takes with little post-production work.

 

- Penned by future Persuaders Richard and Robert Poindexter, 'Hypnotized was simply a lost soul classic.  Reportedly recorded in one take, Jones supposedly hated the song due to the fact she mispronounced the title as 'Hy-mo-tized'.  No idea if that's true, but I have to tell you it doesn't make any difference. The way she stretches the word out and the little trills she adds to the lyric made for a killer performance and what may be her crowning performance.   rating: ***** stars

- Immediately likeable and more commercial than 'Hypnotized', 'Canít Stop Loviní My Baby' had a wonderful, bouncy, mid-1960s Motown-styled arrangement that's always reminded me a bit of early Marvin Gaye.  Like Gaye at his best, Jones vocal managed to simultaneously blend self confidence with an aura of vulnerability.  Sounds crazy, but what a performance ...   One of my favorite songs on the album and the lyrics were hysterical ("he's my bread and meat, and butter ..."  )    rating: ***** stars

- Picked as the album's third single, 'Give My Love a Try' was a touching big ballad with a killer chorus that served as a perfect example of Jones ability to stretch out a word.  I'd love to know who the male backing group was - Kerr and the Poindexter brothers ?   rating: *** stars

- An up tempo, take-no-prisoners stomper, 'You Canít Take It' was worthwhile just to hear Jones sounding pissed off - I would not have wanted to meet her in a dark alley.  You could literally feel her seething fury on this one.   The male backing vocals were fantastic.    rating: ***** stars

- Opening up with some pretty harpsichord flourishes, 'Whatíve I Done (To Make You Mad)' was a Philadelphia-soul styled ballad   Easy to see why Loma picked this as the second single.    rating: **** stars

- If there was a weak song on the album, 'I Canít Stand It' would probably get the nod.  The song wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination (and it featured a fantastic sax solo), but Jones' rapid fire delivery and the slightly flat melody placed it in the also-ran category.    rating: *** stars

- If there were such a thing as a 'pain index' on songs, Jones performance on the bluesy 'You Canít Take It' would shatter the instrument.  I'm usually not a big fan of spoken word vamps, but this one was an exception.  Millie Jackson, eat your heart out.   rating: **** stars

- With a breezy, almost bossa-nova tinged rhythm, 'If Only (We Had Met Sooner)' had top-40 hit scrolled all over it.  Another one where the male backing vocals were the icing on the cake.   rating: **** stars

- With a nifty slinky rhythm that climbed into your head and wouldn't leave, 'Make Me Surrender' captured Jones at her most playful.  The interplay between Jones and the male backing singers was wonderful.  Another one that should have been tapped as a single.   rating: **** stars

- Returning to a Motown-styled arrangement, 'Last Minute Miracle' sounded like a Martha Reeves and the Vandellas outtake.  The song had a tasty hook, but some of Jones uniqueness was lost in the arrangement.  Still, being compared to one of Motown's best groups isn't meant as a criticism.     rating: *** stars

- Once again showcasing her Gospel roots, 'Seeing Is Believing' was a big, bluesy old-school ballad.  Her effortless delivery was simply stunning with the best part saved for last - check out the closing segment where Jones delivers her final comment on a straying partner ... "And that's when I saw you kissing my best friend, yes I did, last night and you might have been doing it other nights too".   rating: **** stars  

 

As mentioned above, three hit singles came off the album:

 

- 1967's 'Hypnotized' b/w 'I Can't Stop Loving M Baby' (Loma catalog number 2070) # 20 pop; # 4 R&B

- 1967's 'What've I Done (To Make You Mad)' b/w 'Make Me Surrender (Baby, Baby, Please)' (Loma catalog number 2077) # 61 pop; # 8 R&B

- 1967's 'Give My Love a Try' b/w 'I Can't Stand It' (Loma catalog number 2085) # 93 pop; # 34 R&B

 

Simply an amazing collection that no true soul fan should be without.  It's one of a handful of album's I'd award a five star rating to.

 

As part of a package tour of R&B acts, Jones supported the album.  She was reportedly given a chance to sing two songs and while her performances were well received, the tour did little to support sales.   

 

"Hypnotized" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hypnotized   (Spolan - R. Poindexter) - 2:38
2.) I Canít Stop Loviní My Baby   (Miller - C. Harper) - 2:03
3.) Give My Love a Try   (Richard Poindexter - Robert Poindexter - C. Harper) - 2:30
4.) You Canít Take It   (Richard Poindexter - Robert Poindexter - C. Harper) - 2:20
5.) Whatíve I Done (To Make You Mad)    (George Kerr - Hallon)- 2:20
6.) I Canít Stand It   (Smokey McAllister) - 2:20

 

(side 2)
1.) 
Things Iíve Been Through (Loving You)   (Kerr - Harris) - 3:10
2.) If Only (We Had Met Sooner)   (Kerr - Harris) - 2:38
3.) Make Me Surrender (Baby, Baby Please)   (Kerr - Harris) - 2:34
4.) Last Minute Miracle   (Kerr - Harris) - 2:31
5.) Seeing Is Believing   (Kerr - Harris) - 3:14

 

Over the next two year Jones continued to record singles for Loma and its parent company Warner Brothers/Seven Arts, but none did much on the charts:

 

- 1968's 'My Heart Needs a Break' b/w 'The Things I've Been Through' (Loma catalog number 2091)

- 1968's ''What Can I Do' b/w Yesterday' (Loma catalog number 2099)

- 1968's 'It Won't Take Much (To Bring Me Back)' b/w 'I Who Have Nothing' (Loma catalog number 2105

- 1969's 'I Just Can't Live My Life' b/w 'My Heart (Will Understand)' (Warner Brothers/Seven Arts catalog number 7278)

 

With Warner Brothers having lost interest in Jones, Kerr took her to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's newly formed Nepture label.  Her stay proved brief - two singles:

 

- 1969's 'I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow' b/w 'That's When I'll Stop Loving You' (Neptune catalog number N-17)

- 1970's ' Ooh Baby You Move Me' b/w 'Can You Blame Me' (Neptune catalog number N-26)

 

 

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Your Precious Love

Company: Turbo

Catalog: TU-7007
Year:
 1972

Country/State: Newark, New Jersey

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: 6000

Price: SOLD $80.00

 

 

With Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff closing down their Neptune label,  in 1970 Linda Jones signed with Sylvia Robinson's All Platinum Turbo.  Teamed with long time producer George Kerr, along with Jerry Harris and Sylvia Robinson herself, Jones apparently recording quite a bit of material for the label including a non-LP debut single:

 

 

- 1971's 'Stay with Me Forever' b/w 'I've Given You The Best Years (Of My Life)' (Turbo catalog number TU 812 A/B)

 

Sadly, a longtime diabetic, following a March 1972 afternoon performance at New York's Apollo Theater Jones fell into a coma backstage, was rushed to a local hospital, but never revived.  She was only 27 year old.  In standard marketing fashion, clearly hoping to capitalize on the resulting publicity surrounding Jones' death, Turbo wasted little time digging out the previously recorded material, releasing some of it as 1972's "For Your Precious Love".   If you were a fan of the debut album, the sophomore album was probably going to take awhile to warm up to.  Her voice remained instantly recognizable, but this time around she simply confused the notions of power with loud, shrill, and almost hysterically over-sung performances.  Think those were simply snarky comments ? Well I suggest you check out her performances on 'Your Precious Love' and 'Stay with Me Forever'.  Imagine a Gospel group at their most over-the-top and pretentious.  In her defense, as previously mentioned, Jones was already seriously ill when these tracks were recorded and judging by the Enoch Gregory's fawning and somewhat nauseous liner notes, she probably did not have a great deal of say in the actual recording sessions; certainly not the posthumous production work prior to the album's posthumous release.  Wonder who had the brilliant idea to add the star to Jones'  forehead ....

 

- Some folks will go gaga over her hyper-emotive cover of Jerry Butler's 'Your Precious Love', but I've got to tell you the combination of her extended hyper-speed spoken word vamps (imagine Millie Jackson at her preachy worst), and a brittle, shrieking delivery left me pretty cold to the performance.  Shame since it's actually a classic soul tune.   rating: ** stars

- Giving credit where due, her performance on the ballad 'Don't Go (I Can't Bear To Be Alone)' was still pretty out there, especially when she tried to light the vocal afterburners and came off very shrill, but at least the tune was semi-memorable (if grossly over-orchestrated).   rating: *** stars

- With a great melody, 'Behold' was the one track that harkened back to her earlier catalog.  While Jones' performance remained fragile and shrill, you could see she'd made attempt to lessen the throttle and at least you could detect shades of her looser, more easy-going  prior work.  Shame that she didn't ease up and go with a calmer approach.   rating: **** stars

- A big, over-the-top soul ballad, the first couple of times I heard it, 'Stay with Me Forever' did absolutely nothing for me.  The delivery on this one was so hyper and over-the-top that it was almost be funny.  It's actually grown on me over the years and I've always liked the strange skittish guitar pattern that kicked the song along.   rating: ** stars

- Starting out with another vamp, 'Not On the Outside' was a perfect example of Jones ability/habit of stretching her vocals across multiple notes.  It's a style that's become very fashionable (think Mariah Carey) and technically it's quite impressive, but to my ears the effect was nothing short of irritating.   Shrill and preachy, this one showcased Jones at her worst.   rating: ** stars

- The performance wasn't anything special, but just because it was up beat and relative carefree, her cover of 'Dancing In the Street' was a breath of fresh of air.  Wonder why it faded out so unexpectedly ...     rating: *** stars

- Opening up with a stark arrangement (simply Jones and a piano), 'Let It Be Me' was actually a guilty pleasure.  Everything I complained about in terms of her performances was on display here, but the song was strong enough to withstand Jones aural pummeling and some escape undamaged.     rating: *** stars

- Probably my pick for standout performance, 'I Can't Make It Alone' had a couple of things going for it, including the album's most memorable melody, some tasty guitar, and a Jones performance than was sharp, but not nearly as shrill as some of the other performances.   rating: **** stars

- Opening with another irritating spoken work vamp, 'Doggin' Me Around' found Jones turning in a blues-oriented number.  While the song was kind of interesting, she did her best to sabotage it with her patented over-singing.    rating: ** stars

 

The album was also tapped for a series of posthumous singles:

 

- 'Your Precious Love' b/w 'Don't Go' (Turbo catalog number TU 021-A/B)

- 'Not On the Outside' b/w 'Things I've Been Through' (Turbo catalog number TU 024-A/B)

- 'Let It Be Me' b/w 'Don't Go (I Can't Bear To Be Alone)' (Turbo catalog number TU 028-A/B)

 

Nowhere near as enjoyable as the debut set, though it'll appeal to some hardcore soul fans out there.

"Your Precious Love" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Your Precious Love   (Jerry Butler - Arthur Brooks - Richard Brooks)

2.) Don't Go (I Can't Bear To Be Alone)   (Al Goodman - S.Seager)

3.) Behold

4.) Stay with Me Forever

 

(side 2)
1.) Not On the Outside   (Sylvia Robinson - L.Roberts) 

2.) Dancing In the Street   (Marvin Gaye - William "Mickey" Stevenson - Ivy Jo Hunter)

3.) Let It Be Me   (Gilbert Becaud - Mann Curtis)

4.) I Can't Make It Alone

5.) Doggin' Me Around

 

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Let It Be Me

Company: Turbo

Catalog: TU-7008
Year:
 1972

Country/State: Newark, New Jersey

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: small cut out hole top right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6509

Price: $80.00

 

Even though nobody seemed to be paying much attention, 1972 saw the All Platinum label continuing to mine the late Linda Jones' catalog via the release of "Let It Be Me".   I'm not sure what the genesis of these tracks was, but to be honest, few of the twelve tracks captured Jones at her best.  While she still had a powerful and instantly recognizable voice, the track listing was heavily oriented towards over-the-top ballads, with performances like 'Things I've Been Through', 'Let It Be Me' and '' showcased some of her least desirable vocal characteristics ...  Judging by these songs Jones simply didn't know what to do when there was space in a song; compulsively trying to fill in ever second of a song with some sort of vocal gymnastics.  Obviously, at least part of the blame lay with producers Jerry Harris and George Kerr who seemed to go out of their way to bury Jones in over-wrought arrangements.  That made for lots of over-emoting, needless attempts to kick it into high gear with Jones often mistaking loud and shrill for power, and even a couple of dreaded spoken word vamps ('Things I've Been Through').  The standout performance was also the album's most atypical performance - a collaboration with The Whatnauts on the up-tempo 'I'm So Glad I Found You'.

 

- A stark, keyboard-powered ballad, 'Fugitive From Love' served to showcase Jones' hyper-emotive vocals.  The song was actually pretty good (it was tapped as a single), with a nifty little piano figure for a hook and some nice drumming.  The big problem with this one was the fact Jones sounded like she'd swallowed the microphone ...   the sound was way too sharp and muddy.   rating: *** stars

- 'Things I've Been Through' found Jones unleashing her voice in a full frontal Gospel attack (the woman could certainly shriek with the best of them).  Musically the song was a fairly pedestrian affair, with punchy Stax-styled horns her mid-song spoken word amp providing the highlights.  (Millie Jackson didn't need to worry about the vamping competition.)    rating: ** stars

- I can't say I ever really liked The Everly Brothers cover of 'Let It Be Me' and Jones' over-the-top version certainly didn't convert me to the song's charms.   Way, way, way too over-the-top for her own good, this one was almost coma-inducing, though there were some nice Steve Cropper-styled guitar licks buried in the mix.  This would have been a good song to have experimented with the less-is-more approach.   rating: ** stars

- An artist re-recording an earlier hit normally spells trouble and that was certainly the case here.  This slowed down and lushed up version literally had none of the original's charm.  Burdened by an overly fussy arrangement (complete with harps and strings), Jones simply seemed to be going through the motions this time out.  Do yourself a favor and look for the 1967 original rather than this hideous remake.   rating: ** stars

 

 

 

- 'I'm So Glad I Found You' was actually a collaboration with Baltimore's The Whatnauts that had previously been released as a single ('I'm So Glad I Found You' b/w 'World Solution' (Stang catalog number ST-5039)).  An upbeat soul stomper, to my ears the song sounded like it had been recorded in the mid-1960s, which may explain why it was one of my favorite performances.   Whatnauts lead singer Billy Herndon literally stole the show with his tear-it-up performance, though Jones was in fine form on this one.   rating: **** stars

- Opening up with another Millie Jackson-styled spoken word vamp, 'When Hurt Comes Back' found Jones returning to over wrought ballad territory.  Pretty, but it ultimately just kind of blended it with the other ballads.  Curiously the back cover track listing was wrong, showing this as the third selection.   rating: ** stars

- In spite of the elaborate arrangement, the mid-tempo ''If Only We Had Met Sooner' was actually one of the better performances.  With one of the better melodies, the song wasn't hurt by having The Whatnauts on backing vocals.   rating: *** stars  

- 'I Did' ended the album with another ballad, though this one had a little more energy than many of the others.  rating: ** stars

 

As mentioned above, the album was tapped for a pair of singles:

 

 

 

- 1972's 'Fugitive From Love' b/w 'Thing's I've Been Through' (Turbo catalog number TB-7042)

- 1972's 'Let It Be Me' b/w 'Don't Go' (Turbo catalog number TU 028)

 

The album's certainly obscure and doesn't even show up on a bunch of Linda Jones discographies, but it isn't anything I'd call essential.  Unless you're a hardcore fan you can probably live without it.

 

"Let It Be Me" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Fugitive From Love   (Jerry Harris - George Kerr) - 3:20

2.) Things I've Been Through   (Linda Jones - Jerry Harris) - 3:25

3.) Let It Be Me   (Gilbert Becaud - Mann Curtis) - 3:58

4.) Hypnotized   (Richard Poindexter - R. Poindexter) - 3:15

 

(side 2)
1.) I'm So Glad I Found You   (George Kerr - L. Roberts) - 3:10

2.) When Hurt Comes Back   (T. Henry - Jerry Harris) - 3:55I

3.) If Only We Had Met Sooner   (Jerry Harris - George Kerr) - 3:25

4.) I Did   (R. Ruffin) - 3:26

 

 

 

There's also a disco-flavored track on the small Spirit label:

 

- 1981's 'Body Fever (Let's Go Party)' b/w 'Body Fever (Let's Go Party)' (instrumental) (Spirit catalog number SP-777) 7" format

- 1981's 'Body Fever (Let's Go Party)' b/w 'Body Fever (Let's Go Party)' (instrumental) (Spirit catalog number SP-A-777-12) 12" format

 

 

There are a slew of  posthumous 'best of' collections, though I've never made an effort to track down any of them down.  That said, two that look like they might be worth checking out are:

 

 

1984's "Linda Jones' Greatest Hits" (Turbo catalog number CH-91501)

 

This one looks like a pretty haphazard mixture of stuff pulled from across the breadth of her career, including the hard to find 'Fugitive from Love'.

 

"Linda Jones' Greatest Hits" track listing:

1.) Your Precious Love   (Jerry Butler - Arthur Brooks - Richard Brooks)

2.) Stay with Me Forever

3.) I Love You, I Need You

4.) Let It Be Me

5.) Hypnotized

6.) Not On the Outside

7.) Fugitive From Love

8.) I Can't Make It

 

 

1997's "Never Mind the Quality ... Feel the Soul - Live In Ohio 1970" (Sequel catalog number CD-990) is apparently the only known live performances from Jones' abbreviated career.  These six tracks was apparently taken from a fan recording that the English Sequel label somehow obtained and cleaned up.  The highlight is supposedly 'That's When I'll Stop Loving You' which includes The O'Jays on backing vocals.

 

"Never Mind the Quality ... Feel the Soul - Live In Ohio 1970" track listing:

1.) Intro

2.) If I Had a Hammer  (Hays - Lee)

3.) That's When I'll Stop Loving You   (Vernon Harrell) - 

4.) For Your Precious Love   (Jerry Butler - Arthur Brooks - Richard Brooks)

5.) You're So Fine

6.) I Found a Love

 

 

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