Although her recording career only spanned just eight years, Newark, New Jersey-born Linda Jones left an indelible mark on the world of soul music thanks to her distinctive melismatic vocal style. Her phrasing and approach were so unique that, 42 years after her untimely passing in March 1972 (the result of a diabetes-induced coma), Linda is still hailed by soul music aficionados and other recording artists (such as the late Teena Marie, who considered her a prime musical influence) as one of the genre’s greatest singers.
Starting out as a member of a family gospel group, Linda made her first secular recording in 1963 (under the name “Linda Lane”); however, it was after she was introduced to producer/songwriter George Kerr (briefly a member of Little Anthony & The Imperials) that her recording career took off. With Kerr, she recorded two singles – one for Atco and one for Blue Cat – before she cut the song “Hypnotized,” a song written by the Poindexter Brothers, in April 1967.
Kerr found a home for the now-classic and timeless track at Loma Records, the R&B arm of Warner Brothers Records at the time, and within two months of its release, “Hypnotized” had reached No. 4 on Billboard’s R&B chart and No. 21 on the Hot 100. An entire album named after Linda’s biggest hit was cut in the summer of 1967 with renowned keyboardist Richard Tee providing the arrangements. From those sessions came “What’ve I Done (To Make You Mad),” issued in October ’67 and another Top 10 R&B hit. The LP also included a third single, “Give My Love a Try,” and a version of The Soul Sisters’ “I Can’t Stand It.” On the strength of the success of the hit title track, the Hypnotized album made it to the R&B Top 30.
Subsequent recordings included “My Heart Needs a Break,” issued as a single in the spring of ’68 and peaking at No. 50 on the R&B, and a version of The Beatles’ “Yesterday,” both making their CD debut with this superb compilation from Real Gone Music in association with SoulMusic Records.
Also included are tracks from Linda’s final sessions for Warner Brothers including a brilliant version of “I Who Have Nothing,” 1969’s “It Won’t Take Much (to Bring Me Back)” and the single, “I Just Can’t Live My Life” b/w “My Heart (Will Understand),” with the latter three songs appearing for the first time on CD and rounding out this wonderful tribute to a one-of-a-kind soul singer. Liner notes by SoulMusic.com founder David Nathan include quotes from producer George Kerr. Remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision.
1. Take the Boy Out of the Country
2. I’m Taking Back My Love
4. I Can’t Stop Lovin’ My Baby
5. What’ve I Done (to Make You Mad)
6. Make Me Surrender (Baby, Baby, Please)
7. Give My Love a Try
8. You Can’t Take It
9. A Last Minute Miracle
10. If Only (We Had Met Sooner)
11. The Things I’ve Been Through (Loving You)
12. Seeing Is Believing
13. I Can’t Stand It
14. Fugitive from Love
15. My Heart Needs a Break
16. What Can I Do (Without You)
18. My Heart (Will Understand)
19. It Won’t Take Much (to Bring Me Back)
20. I Who Have Nothing
21. I Just Can’t Live My Life
~ Real Gone Music
~ Real Gone Music