Lou Ann Barton

Read My Lips

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Lou Ann Barton didn't have the best of luck in her early career. Incongruously signed to a major label for 1982's Old Enough, she delivered a fine debut that was utterly out of step with the times. Shunted to a tiny indie in her adopted hometown of Austin, she recorded 1986's oddly poppy Forbidden Tones, an album of John Hiatt and Beatles covers that recalled Marti Jones' albums from the same period; it was a fine record, but it was a complete stylistic aberration. Barton returned to her blues-rock roots for 1989's Read My Lips. Cutting out the synthesizers and pop gloss of Forbidden Tones for a more traditional sound and recording with longtime friends like the Fabulous Thunderbirds' Kim Wilson and Jimmie Vaughan, Barton delivers her strongest set of tunes. As always, the song selection is heavy on the covers, including a new, heart-wrenching version of Irma Thomas' "It's Raining" that beats the pants off the too-slick version she recorded on Old Enough. Barton also salutes her influences on solid covers of Barbara Lynn's "You'll Lose a Good Thing" and a rave-up rendition of Wanda Jackson's rockabilly anthem "Let's Have a Party," not to mention the tough-chick standby "You Can Have My Husband." Wisely free of attempts to update or modernize her timeless Texas-style blues-rock, Read My Lips is a rockin' good time.

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