To be a woman singing your own blues and soul songs in 1960s Texas was a rare thing. To do so while brandishing a left-handed Stratocaster and bashing out hard-edged licks was even rarer. Yet that’s just what Barbara Lynn did, inspired by Guitar Slim, Jimmy Reed, Elvis Presley, and Brenda Lee. Her 1962 debut single, “You’ll Lose A Good Thing,” recorded with session musicians including Dr. John, gave her an R&B chart Number One and a Billboard chart Top 10 hit.
Self-taught, first on the ukulele and then on guitar, Lynn formed her first group, Barbara Lynn and Her Idols, while still at school and soon took the local scene by storm. Hers was a powerful talent in a petite package, a performer who could stand up against the best–even as a teenager. Spotted while performing underage in Louisiana, she was offered the chance to record her own material, songs that filtered the experience of being a black Texan teen with power, feeling, and guts. Ten of the twelve tracks on her debut album were her own compositions. Though she was a precocious performer, hers is a talent that came to full bloom on Here Is Barbara Lynn, her 1968 album produced by Huey P. Meaux and originally released on Atlantic Records. She married in 1970, aged 28, had three children, and largely retired from the music industry for most of the 70s and 80s. Back in action and as vivacious as ever, Barbara Lynn continues to play shows to this day, and she always brings the house down with her fiercely unique style.
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