Barbara Acklin

Seven Days of Night

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Brunswick rarely did right by Barbara Acklin. With her remarkable "Am I the Same Girl" poised for chart triumph, the label stripped away her potent vocals, added a piano, and released the track as the Young-Holt Unlimited instrumental "Soulful Strut," which proved a massive hit in its own right. The original "Am I the Same Girl" is the centerpiece of Acklin's sophomore LP, Seven Days of Night, and while it remains a high-water mark of Chicago soul, much of the album maintains a similar level of excellence. The over-production and reliance on ill-suited and clich├ęd cover material that hampers her later Brunswick efforts is absent here. Most of the songs instead originate from the pen of the Chi-Lites' Eugene Record, whose nuanced melodies and sublime arrangements (in particular the transcendent "Here Is a Heart") fit Acklin's soulful vocals like a glove.