Lou Ann Barton Turns It Around

Originally posted April 18, 2008

The last time we saw Lou Ann Barton, it was for a listen to Forbidden Tones, her 1986 album that placed her gem of a bluesy Texas voice in a new wave setting. The result was pretty bad. How bad?

Well, I’m a pretty tolerant guy. I have a lot of music in the RealPlayer that I’m not wild about but that I don’t mind hearing occasionally because it brings with it a sense of its time, and it’s fun in small doses. With more than 26,000 mp3s in the player, the songs that I don’t particularly care for pop up only rarely. There is, however, stuff I’ve ripped but really have no interest in hearing at all, and that goes into a separate folder that never gets pulled into the RealPlayer. That’s where I put Forbidden Tones. (What else is in there? Well, there’s some of the early work of Duane and Gregg Allman with the Hourglass and the 31st of February, stuff that’s interesting historically but not a lot of fun; there’s some Jerry Riopelle, some Valerie Carter, some Lulu and what appears to be the complete works of Claudine Longet [the Texas Gal is a fan].)

Luckily for Lou Ann Barton fans, three years after trying to sound like “Elvis Costello & the Attractions fronted by a roadhouse belter,” as one admiring reviewer wrote, she went back to Texas blues and R&B for her third album, Read My Lips. Released on the Antone’s label out of San Antonio, the album is a fifteen-song return to form. (The LP release had twelve tracks; the CD release, which I’m sharing, has three extra tracks.)

The rhythm section had Jon Blondell on bass and George Rains on drums, and Barton and co-producer Paul Ray brought in a wealth of talent to add to that solid base. Guitarists on the LP (I don’t have the credits for the three extra tracks) were Jimmie Vaughan, Derek O’Brien, Denny Freeman and David Grissom; David “Fathead” Newman and Joe Sublett and Mark Kazanoff played sax; Mel Brown, Reese Wynans and Mike Kindred played various keyboards; Kim Wilson played harmonica, and Wilson, Fran Christina, Diana Ray and Paul Ray provided background vocals.

Highlights? I like the torchy “You’ll Lose A Good Thing,” and the remake of Faye Adams’ 1953 hit, “Shake A Hand” as well as Barton’s take on Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips” and her saucy version of “You Can Have My Husband.” And she remakes “It’s Raining,” which she recorded for her first album, Old Enough, doing a better job this time around. Those are the best tracks, but it’s not like the other tracks aren’t good – it’s a consistently fine album.

Sugar Coated Love
You’ll Lose A Good Thing
Sexy Ways
Shake A Hand
Good Lover
Mean Mean Man
Shake Your Hips
Te Ni Nee Ni Nu
Can’t Believe You Want To Leave
You Can Have My Husband
It’s Raining
Rocket In My Pocket
I Wonder Why
Let’s Have A Party
High Time We Went

Lou Ann Barton – Read My Lips [1989]

I thought as long as I was sharing Read My Lips, I’d go ahead and re-up Old Enough, Barton’s 1982 debut album, which a few people have requested. The track listing for Old Enough is:

I’m Old Enough
Brand New Lover
It’s Raining
It Ain’t Right
Finger-Poppin’ Time
Stop These Teardrops
The Sudden Stop
The Doodle Song
Every Night Of The Week

Lou Ann Barton – Old Enough [1982]


One Response to “Lou Ann Barton Turns It Around”

  1. RB In The Fog « Echoes In The Wind Archives Says:

    […] My Lips by Lou Ann Barton [1989] [With bonus tracks] Original post here. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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