Monday, July 30, 2012

Any Woman’s Blues #22 – Barbara Lynn

Welcome back to our first edition of Any Woman’s Blues in quite some time! It’s one of my own favorite series here, & I’m happy to begin posting it again. From now on, I’ll endeavor to get back to monthly installments of this.

This month’s featured artist is Barbara Lynn, a fantastic singer & guitarist whose career dates back to the early 1960s (as evidenced by the first video below.) Ms Lynn hails from Beaumont, Texas, & she really hit the scene in 1962 with the #1 Billboard R&B hit, “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” (later covered in a country version by Freddy Fender!) You can follow this link to hear Lynn play this tune—I opted against including here because I believe the two videos I chose showcase her guitar-playing more effectively.  In addition, her song "Oh Baby (We've Got A Good Thing Goin')" was covered by the Rolling Stones on their 1965 release The Rolling Stones Now! After recording on the Jamie & Tribe labels thru much of the 1960s, she was signed by Atlantic in 1967 & produced yet another hit, “"This Is the Thanks I Get."

Following her marriage (around 1970—can’t find the exact date), her career went mostly on hold as she devoted herself to family for most of the next two decades, with only occasional nightclub appearances. But towards the end of the 1980s, she returned to her musical career, signing with the Iciban label & releasing You Don’t Have to Go in 1988. Lynn also has inked recording deals with Antone’s & Dialtone, & now has 11 albums to her credit. She’s also touring, & as you can hear in the second video—her beautiful cover of “Misty Blue,” both her guitar & vocal chops are as impressive as ever.

Lynn’s guitar style mixes solid rhythm featuring lots of damped & accented upstrokes with very direct & compelling leads & fills. You’ll notice that she plays fingerstyle, using a thumbpick—unusual in general on electric guitar, tho it is used by some blues artists (for example, Lynn’s fellow Texan Lightnin’ Hopkins.) Early in her career her standby guitar was a Fender Esquire, but these days she seems to favor the Stratocaster.

Hope you enjoy the music by this truly wonderful artist!

Pic by Wiki use Masahiro Sumori. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. 


  1. Beaumont Texas is not far from my own birthplace. John thank you once again for introducing me to a woman of power and music. So enjoyed your post and the videos

    1. Very happy that you enjoyed it so much, Joyce! & thanks.

  2. Ah! Barbara Lynn! I'd forgotten about her. I tend to think of her as an R&B artist rather than a straight-ahead blues artist, but the two tend to overlap a lot, so toss a coin and take your pick.

    And what do my wondering eyes behold but her rhythm guitarist in the first clip playing a Rickenbacker. Man, I love those guitars! That one looks like a 320.

    1. Hi Roy Yes, Rickenbackers are fun indeed! I don't make much of a distinction especially in terms of this series between R&B & blues; after all, for sales purposes, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf & Muddy Waters were all marketed as R&B artists in the 50s. But yes, she does have more of what we now think of as the R&B sound, for sure.


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