I tend to ignore soul LPs (vs. 7″ singles) at my own peril but I’m glad I didn’t pass up this Barbara Mason LP when I saw it at the store the other day. Recorded for Philly’s Arctic label in 1965 (when Mason was only 18), it features her first major hit – “Yes, I’m Ready” – but I copped it because I wanted to hear what else was on here. It’s an interesting merge of styles, mostly R&B but also with a few conventional big band swing jazz tunes like “Misty” and “Moon River.” 1960s’ albums that mixed both jazz standards and R&B tunes weren’t that unusual but by the decade’s end, I always got the sense that these tended to bifurcated, especially as “soul” – as a genre category – gained commercial power.
I’m curious who backed Mason for the LP (if you know, holler) and heck, I’m not even sure who produced the songs on here besides Weldon McDougal. Great rhythm section, especially on Mason’s proto-funky recording of the Chris Kenner classic “Something You Got.” What’s funny is that the song reminds me of “Down Home Girl” and by coincidence, Alvin Robinson also covered “Something You Got.” .1 Considering that Arctic released nearly half the songs on the LP on single, it’s surprising this wasn’t one of them but you can find the other song I posted, the ballad “Girls Have Feelings Too,” on 7″. I’m all about the back-up “toooo-oooh-ooooh-ooohs.” Notably, this songs reminds me of another Barbara ballad: Barbara Lynn’s “Why Can’t You Love Me.”
- For my money, Mason and Robinson’s versions are the best out there. ↩