Wednesday, 26 April 2017

"20 Greatest Hits" by BARBARA ACKLIN (2002 Brunswick CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...


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"…Love Makes A Woman…"


"20 Greatest Hits" is probably not going to win an 'Original Title Of The Year' award at a Various Artists Prize-Winning convention any time soon – but this is one of those boring looking 'hits' sets that so works on the two fronts that matter – top track choices and great audio. The fire was burning indeed. Here are the womanly details…

US released February 2002 – "20 Greatest Hits" by BARBARA ACKLIN on Brunswick BRC 33011-2 (Barcode 646953301124) breaks down as follows (59:04 minutes):

1. Love Makes A Woman (1968 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55379, A)
2. Just Ain’t No Love (1968 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55388, A)
3. Am I The Same Girl (1969 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55399, A)
4. Fool, Fool, Fool (Look In The Mirror) (1967 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55319, A)
5. Portrait Of A Broken Heart (from the 1972 US LP “I Call It Trouble” on Brunswick BL 754187)
6. You’ve Been In Love Too Long (from the 1970 US LP “Someone Else’s Arms” on Brunswick BL 754156)
7. I Did It (1970 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55440, A)
8. After You (1969 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55421, A)
9. Stop, Look And Listen (1971 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55465, B)
10. Lady, Lady, Lady (1971 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55465, A)
11. Make The Man Love You (from the 1971 US LP “I Did It” on Brunswick BL 754166)
12. I Call It Trouble (1972 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55486, A)
13. Be By My Side (1969 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55399, B)
14. Yes I See Love (from her 1968 LP “Love Makes A Woman” on Brunswick BL 754137)
15. To Sir With Love (from her 1968 LP “Love Makes A Woman” on Brunswick BL 754137)
16. Someone Else’s Arms (1970 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55433, B-side of “Is It Me”)
17. It’s A Groovy Idea (from the 1972 US LP “I Call It Trouble” on Brunswick BL 754187)
18. From The Teacher To The Preacher (1968 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55387, A, credited to GENE CHANDLER and BARBARA ACKLIN)
19. I’ll Bake Me A Man (from the 1972 US LP “I Call It Trouble” on Brunswick BL 754187)
20. Show Me The Way To Go (1968 USA 7” single on Brunswick 55366, A, credited to GENE CHANDLER and BABARA ACKLIN)

The 6-page foldout liner notes by JIM DAWSON give an excellent and affectionate overview of her productive stay at Brunswick Records - but it’s the superb remastered sound done by IVAN JOSEPH GOLDBERG (from original tapes) that clobbers you. Brunswick had the awesome talents of 5-time Grammy Winner BRUCE SWEDIEN as their Engineer and when you rehear classics like “Just Ain’t No Love” or “Am I The Same Girl” (a lyric version of “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited) – the audio quality here is truly fantastic. That backing rhythm of drums and piano punctuated by great brass fills – slinky keys – what a blast.

Even though it includes all of the 7 chart entries she made on the American Billboard R&B charts - for a single-CD compilation you could argue that it’s playing time (like its title) lacks any real imagination. But the track choices are very clever and as you play through it – hugely satisfying as an overall listen. You get classy singles like “Love Makes A Woman” and the two hits she had with Gene Chandler – “From The Teacher To The Preacher” and “Show Me The Way To Go”, really ace flipsides like “Come And See Me” and “Be By My Side” running alongside cool album cuts like “To Sir With Love” (exclusive to this set, not on the 2CD “The Brunswick Anthology”).

It doesn’t take Mensa genius to work out that Brunswick Records housed some truly gorgeous Soul in its classy roster of artists (Jackie Wilson, Erma Franklin, Gene Chandler, Tyrone Davis and of course The Chi-Lites) - and you have to say that Barbara Acklin’s stay between 1967 and 1973 epitomises that with style.

A fab CD reissue – and unlike "The Brunswick Anthology" and "The Complete" which are now deleted and have acquired hefty price tags – this brill little set is still readily available for a reasonable price and wanting to bring love into your home. Succumb to its call…

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