Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Eugene Record, William Sanders, Carl Davis,

Gerald Sims)

Brunswick 55379

No. 15   August 37, 1968



Barbara Acklin (b. Feb. 28, 1944, Chicago, IL) came from a musical family.   Her grandma was blues singer

Asa Eskridge; her cousin was keyboardist/arranger Monk Higgins.   Mom and Dad were attuned and hip, so

they encouraged Barb to sing her soul out.   By age 11, she was a featured vocalist in the choir of the New

Zion Baptist Church.   While still a student at Dunbar Voca­tional High, Acklin sang secular at night spots on

Chicago’s South Side.   When Barbara graduated, Monk Higgins got her a job as a secretary with St.

Lawrence Records, where he worked as a producer and recording artist.   “When somebody would come in

to record and they needed a background singer, I would run in the back and sing,” Acklin told Goldmine R &

B editor Bob Pruter.   Monk recorded one single on her as “Barbara Allen” but it fizzled.


Higgins then moved his base of operations to Chess Records, and Barbara followed.   At Chess, she sang

back-up for Fontella Bass, Etta James, MINNIE RIPER­TON, and Koko Taylor.   In 1966, Barbara obtained

the job of secretary/receptionist for Carl Davis at Bruns­wick Records, and began writing songs on the side.


“I kept asking Carl to record [me],” recalled Acklin, “and he kept saying ‘I will, I will, just keep on writing.’   I

wrote a tune with another person [The Five DuTones’ David Scott, of “Shake a Tail Feather” notoriety] called


‘Whispers” and Jackie Wilson heard the tune and really liked it.   He recorded it, and after it became a big

hit for him, he told me, ‘If there is anything I can do for you, let me know.’ I said, ‘You tell Carl I want to

record”   ” Three weeks later, Barbara was in a recording studio.   Her first two singles flopped, but a duet

with Gene Chandler called “Show Me the Way to Go” (#30, 1968) did moderately with the R & B crowd.

Then “Love Makes a Woman” appeared and soared into the Top 40.   A number of follow-up solo sides–

among them “Am I the Same Girl,” later a British hit for Swing Out Sister­ and duets with Chandler placed

fairly well on Bill­board’s R & B charts–but none of them could duplicate the success, or recapture the

charm, of “Love Makes a Woman.”


Disappointed by her lackluster chart showings, Ack­lin left Brunswick in 1973 and signed with Capitol

Records.   Over the next few years, three singles and an album–A Place in the Sun (1975)–were issued by

Capitol.   Of these 45s, “Raindrops” (R&B: #14, 1974) sold the best, but these would prove to be her last disks

to date.   Later in the ’70s, Acklin stepped out of the spotlight.   “I went out on the road with Tyrone Davis as

a back-up singer.   Everybody thought I was nuts, but it was a way of staying in touch with the business

without a deep involvement.”


In 1979, Barbara parted company with Capitol and joined the Chi-Sound label the following year, but no

records were released.   In the ’80s, Barbara Acklin was spotted in the role of road manager for Ike Turner’s

occasional “Tina” fill–in Holly Maxwell.   Barb, also, continues a writing partnership with the Chi-Lites’

Eugene Record, that resulted in major hits with “Have You Seen Her” and “Stoned Out of My Mind.”