Gulf Coast Soul
"I'm A One Man Woman" (Barbara L. Ozen)
Barbara Lynn, Atlantic, 1971
Hope she's one of yours now, too
This month’s Swamp Side features a cut from Barbara Lynn (Ozen), who grew up on the Gulf Coast in Beaumont, TX, although her people were originally from the Opelousas, LA area. Not only a talented vocalist, Lynn, who is still an active performer, plays guitar left-handed and has written some great songs. Discovered in the early 1960’s by producer Huey Meaux, who got her signed to nationally distributed Jamie Records, Lynn scored a big R&B hit in 1962 with her first single for the label, “You’ll Lose A Good Thing”. Although she put out many other great sides for the label, including her song, “Oh Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin’)” which the Rolling Stones covered in 1965, none achieved the chart success of the first hit and the label dropped her around 1965. She continued to record on Meaux’s own labels until he got her a deal with Atlantic in 1967. Most of her early sides were recorded in New Orleans, using the fine session players there, and later ones were done in Clinton, MS, Muscle Shoals, AL, and Houston.
When “I’m A One Man Woman” b/w “Nice and Easy” was released on Atlantic, she was close to the end of her run with the label, after having recorded several singles and a album. One of those sides, “Until Then I’ll Suffer”, was a fairly substantial hit in 1971. Our featured track followed it up and also charted fairly well. It was recorded at Meaux’s Sugar Hill Studio (formerly Gold Star) in Houston; but I have no further session information. With its funkified groove from the fine unknown backing band, plus Ms Ozen’s captivating vocal and rhythmic guitar (even though it seems borrowed from Tyrone Davis’ hit, “Can I Change My Mind”), this tune is soulful and danceable. Subsequently, she made one more single for Atlantic and released only a few more records during the 1970’s.
On a side note, Lynn was certainly not the only act either discovered or given a start by Huey Meaux, the self-styled “Crazy Cajun”, a former barber, DJ and music promoter with an ear for talent and a flair for the free-style record business of the times (and who, I believe, is currently incarcerated for one vice or another). Some of the other artists he worked with early in their careers were Joe Barry, Jimmy Donley, Freddie Fender, Sir Douglas Quintet, Roy Head, Jean Knight, B. J. Thomas and Sonny Landreth. A lot of that work was released on his own labels such as Tribe, Eric, Parrot, Jetstream, and Crazy Cajun.
For those, like me, who collect CDs as well as (or instead of) vinyl, back in the 1990’s Bear Family released a two CD set of Barbara Lynn’s Jamie sides; and Ichiban did a CD retrospective of her Atlantic years. In the UK, Edsel comped her Crazy Cajun output on a 1998 CD; and WestSide in 1999 put out the CD, Bluesoul Belles Vol. 2, featuring Tribe and Jetstream recordings by Lynn and Jean Knight. In addition, she released several decent CDs in the 1990’s of her new tunes and re-makes of her older ones. I’ve always had a thing for Barbara Lynn’s music; andI hope you’ll agree that she should be more than just one man’s soul woman.