required listening

CD Review

BARBARA INGRAM  -  Philadelphia Sweetheart

Society Hill/Essential Music (US)942326772-2

She’s All Alone; Music Is The Message; Tried It And Like It; What Else Can I Say; Someone’s On My Side; Spirit Of Love; Let The Love Begin

This short - just seven tracks over 34 minutes - but very sweet cd draws together solo recordings made by the late Barbara Ingram, one of the ‘Sweethearts Of Sigma’ who passed away in 1994, aged just 46.  A short-stay member of Ray Charles’ Raelets, Barbara went on to be a lead singer with family group, the Ingram Family before becoming a stalwart of backing singers at Philadelphia International’s Sigma Sound studios.  This set retains the family connections, all but one of the songs being penned by Butch or James Ingram, while the lady herself wrote the upbeat ‘What Else Can I Say’ and the three combined to deliver the quintessential Philly ballad, ‘Spirit Of Love’.  For certain tracks, most notably the shared opening slowie, ‘She’s All Alone’, Barbara is joined by an uncredited male voice, the tray-card merely offering the clue that ‘[the set] features backing from the famous band of brothers, Ingram‘ and that doubtless applies for the instrumental support as well.  There are touches of another Barbara, viz Barbara Mason, in the lady’s delivery at times - on that track in particular and also on the 6:07 - the longest track - ‘Music Is The Message’, another gentle ballad.  The tempo varies not one whit for ‘Tried It And Like It‘ but why abandon a winning formula?  Nevertheless, ‘Someone’s On My Side‘ is one outing that does just that, it even has a funky touch and the old group gets a sizeable look in but things go out as they came in with another tasty female/male duet with the tuneful power ballad, ‘Let The Love Begin‘  To repeat... short - but very sweet.

review posted 28/8/18