Barbara Lynn Hot Night Tonight (Antone's)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Sept. 8, 2000
Hot Night Tonight (Antone's)Barbara Lynn may never again reach No.1 as she did in 1962 with "You'll Lose a Good Thing," but in Hot Night Tonight, the southpaw guitarist from the Gulf Coast has recorded a much-needed album of sultry soul and bluesy ballads. As "Good Thing" proved nearly three decades ago, the 58-year-old Lynn has always had a wonderfully mature and sensual approach to her songwriting, composing seven of the dozen tracks on her new album. Noteworthy to the recording is producer Don Smith, who's engineered and mixed recordings for the Rolling Stones and is likely responsible for the presence of auxiliary touring Stones Bernard Fowler and Daryl Jones as well as Keith Richards' Xpensive Winos Charlie Drayton and Ivan Neville. Lynn's guitar playing ebbs and flows alluringly, and her rich, velvety vocals are all the better for the years, but the real beauty of Hot Night Tonight is its utter timelessness. The arrangements are pure Memphis, as if lifted from Willie Mitchell's heyday on the Hi label, melded with the guitarist's patented Texas twang on "I Love to Make Love," "I Let a Good Man Go," and "Never Found a Man." By the time she slips into the title track, Lynn is smoking with a slow, silky pace that never lets up. In the forgiving "Don't Hit Me No More," she warns her jealous lover to "talk to me with your mouth, babe, and not your hand," which may be sage advice considering the next song admonishes "(You're Gonna) Hear From My Daddy." Lest this divine album sound too old-fashioned, check the opening track "You're the Man," in which Lynn's son Bachelor Wise raps in the middle and delivers a well-deserved shout-out to his mama. The song is reprised near the end and not a moment too soon: Hot Night Tonight is destined to be overlooked, but Barbara Lynn can never be overrated.