The Rare Breed + Linda Lyndell: From the Vaults

The Rare Breed feat. Linda Lyndell: Let Me Call You Baby
The Rare Breed feat. The Blues Kings: Drip Drop
From The Rare Breed archives (late 1960s?)

I got an email from Linda Lyndell the other day – she of Stax/Volt “What a Man” fame. I had interviewed Linda for Wax Poetics and I also licensed her song for Soul Sides Vol. 1 and she was kind enough to keep in touch with me about some old songs of hers from way back in the 1960s.

I had been meaning to post about this earlier but with the recent talk about “blue-eyed soul” it seemed even more apropos. Lyndell, to me, is one of the unsung “liminal” artists of the soul era (including folks like Joe Bataan, Betty Davis, etc.) who never quite fit into a neat package and this largely resulted in her talent being underutilized and underappreciated. You want to talk about precursors to a lot of today’s White soul singers – just listen to how Lyndell rips it on “Let Me Call You Baby” and witness someone clearly ahead of her time.

These two songs (the second one does NOT feature Lyndell) come from the archives of The Rare Breed. They were a North Florida garage band in the 1960s, mostly students from UF and Lyndell – who grew up in that area – linked up with them in the days of her early career, before she was “discovered” and brought over to Volt. That archives page has other material by the group in case you’re curious. Check out “A Man Will Do Anything” feat. Gene Middleton for a great, bluesy ballad.

I included “Drip Drop,” a song done with the Blues Kings (presumably another set of North Florida artists) for obvious reasons…it’s funnnnnnnnnnnnnky. It’s interesting listening to the Rare Breed songs by themselves – they’re much more of a pop/psych group on their own – but arm them with the right vocalists and they prove adaptable to an entirely different sound.

Back to Winehouse for a sec: I realized, re-reading my post, I probably go out of my way to try to “explain” her phenom through a variety of different angles, all of which has the unintended effect of diminishing the fact that her album and her songs are…well…really good. I was listening to Back to Black on the drive home and seriously – it’s just a fun album to listen to. None of my comments before were meant to take away from that basic point.

For whatever it’s worth, I heard her album is #1 on iTunes. Guess all those “soulless hipsters” make a difference after all 😉