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barbara acklin

Barbara Acklin

b. Barbara Jean Acklin, 28th February 1943, Oakland, California, U.S.A.

d. 27th November 1998, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A.

Barbara Acklin was born in California in 1943.

She became an established songwriter, along with Eugene Record of the Chi-Lites, as well as being a first rate performer in her own right.

Barbara was the only child of Herman and Hazel Acklin, and when she was 5 years old, the family relocated to Chicago, Illinois.

She began singing in the church choir at the Big Zion Baptist Church in her early years.

As a teenager she began singing in nightclubs whilat attending the Dunbar Vocational High School.

After she had graduated, Barbara was hired as a secretary for local imprint St. Lawrence Records by her cousin, producer / saxophonist Monk Higgins.

Monk recorded a single on Barbara, under the name Barbara Allen for his Special Agent label.

Monk later utilised Barbara as a background singer on his Chess Records sessions with artists including Etta James and Fontella Bass.

In 1966, she began working as a receptionist for producer Carl Davis (Chi-Lites, Gene Chandler) at the Chicago branch office of Brunswick Records.

At the label she met Jackie Wilson, and asked him to listen to a tune that she had co-written with David Scott (formerly of the Five Du-Tones and the Exciters).

Jackie liked the song and passed it on to Davis.

Jackie Wilson 'whispers' by jackie wilson

Recorded on 8th August 1966 (and released September 1966), 'Whispers (Gettin' Louder)' went to number six R & B and number 11 pop in the autumn of 1966.

The album, 'Whispers', was released shortly afterward, rejuvenating his career and paving the way for his only number one R & B single '(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.'

Jackie helped Barbara in landing a recording contract with Brunswick Records.

Her first chart success was 'Show Me the Way to Go,' a duet with Gene Chandler, reaching number 30 R & B in the spring of 1968.

In July 1968, Barbara released the song 'Love Makes A Woman,' which went straight to number three R & B and number 15 pop in August 1968. The song also won a BMI Award.

Barbara and Gene duetted again on the song 'From the Teacher to the Preacher' reached number 16 R & B and number 57 pop in 1968.

Barbara scored several further hits including 'Just Ain't No Love,' 'Am I the Same Girl' (covered by Dusty Springfield, Swing Out Sister and The Manhattan Transfer), 'After You,' 'I Did It,' 'Lady Lady Lady' and 'I Call It Trouble.'

Love Makes A WomanSeven Days Of Night

love makes a woman - 1968 / seven days of night - 1969

Someone Else's ArmsI Did It

someone else's arms - 1970 / i did it - 1971

I Call It TroubleGreatest Hits

i call it trouble - 1973 / greatest hits - 1995

Album releases followed on Brunswick, 'Love Makes a Woman' (summer 1968), 'Seven Days of Night' (1975) 'Someone's Else's Arms' (April 1970), 'I Did It' (December 1970), 'I Call It Trouble' (1973) and 'Barbara Acklin's Greatest Hits' (Spring 1995).

'Am I the Same Girl' was based around the backing track for the Young-Holt Unlimited's instrumental song 'Soulful Strut,' with a piano substituting Barbara's vocal.

'Soulful Strut' made the Top Ten R & B, and number three pop, selling over two million copies.

Barbara then began her Brunswick collaboration with Eugene Record of The Chi-Lites.

One of their first songs, 'Have You Seen Her' reached number one R & B and number three pop, earning The Chi-Lites their first gold record.

'Have You Seen Her' was originally the last track on The Chi-Lites album '(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People'.

Another collaboration , 'Oh Girl,' made number one on the R & B charts for two weeks in June 1972.

I Call It TroubleRaindrops

i call it trouble b/w i'll bake me a man - 1972 / raindrops - 1974

The same year Barbara released 'I'll Bake Me A Man', a flip side to the single 'I Call It Trouble', and a favourite amongst Soul fans.

Other Acklin / Record compositions for The Chi-Lites included 'Stoned Out of My Mind' and 'Toby' (a double-sided hit single and the title track of a 1974 album).

In 1974, Barbara departed Brunswick for Capitol Records.

Her first single, 'Raindrops' b/w 'Here You Come Again', was a R & B hit in June of that year.

A Place in the SunYou're The One

a place in the sun - 1975 / you're the one - 1990 single

The album, 'A Place in the Sun', released May 1975 and produced by Chicago soul mainstay Willie Henderson, contained two more singles: 'Special Loving' and 'Give Me Some of Your Sweet Love.'

Barbara then left Capitol Records and continued to tour as both a solo artist and as a background singer with The Chi-Lites and other acts.

In 1990, Barbara released an excellent 12" single on the independent Krescent label entitled 'You're The One' b/w 'You're The One' (instrumental).

In late 1998, Acklin was recording a phone interview with Chicago cable TV host Royce Glamour from her Omaha home.

Barbara was excited about working on material for her new album, and she also commenteded that she had a bad cold.

The following weekend, she was rushed to a hospital where she passed away from pneumonia on 27th November 1998.

Barbara Acklin left behind a son, Marcus, a daughter who's an aspiring singer, Samotta, a granddaughter, Sheratta along with many loving friends and family.

Barbara AcklinBarbara Acklin

Real Player


Love Makes a Woman (Brunswick Records 1968)

Seven Days of Night (Brunswick Records 1969)

Someone Else's Arms (Brunswick Records 1970)

I Did It (Brunswick Records 1971)

I Call It Trouble (Brunswick Records 1973)

A Place in the Sun (Capitol Records 1975)

Greatest Hits (Brunswick Records 1995)

20 Greatest Hits (Brunswick Records 2002)

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