Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on December 6, 2014

Barbara Lewis is from the Ann Arbor area where I grew up. She was born in Salem Township, part of Washtenaw County, and just outside Ann Arbor. Lewis was managed by Ollie McLaughlin, whom we all knew. McLaughlin not only produced Barbara Lewis, but also Dion Jackson, who was a friend of ours. And our one-time manager Hugh "Jeep" Holland and McLaughlin worked together in the same Ann Arbor scene. Pop-group manager Jeep Holland met his match in our group, the Prime Movers Blues Band.

Basically we were unmanageable, but Holland tried. He has us all tricked out in suits and ties and positioned on the teen-circuit, but, as they say, that dog wouldn't hunt. So we languished in obscurity of our own making. Probably the highpoint-story of attempts to train us was when Motown took an interest in our band. The came in big black limousines and drove us around. For example, they set up a luncheon for my brother Dan and me with the Everly Brothers. So there we sat, eating lunch with Phil and Don Everly and happy as clams to be doing it. The Everly Brothers produced some of the greatest music I know.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that finally, what Motown wanted, was a white band to do black music. Well, that would be us! However, they wanted to dictate the music we had to play. Well, that was not about to happen, probably mostly due to my preoccupation with playing and studying black music, but the particular kind of Chicago blues I loved. So I told them to take a hike and that was the end of the limousines and the luncheons. Oh well. We might have been the next big "something." Or it might be a blessing that we missed that!

Barbara Lewis was also a great songwriter, writing, for example, her big hit "Hello Stranger," and all of the songs on her debut album of the same name. Of course "Hello Stranger" is one of THE most beautiful soul tunes I have ever heard, probably my favorite soul song ever. It is crushing!

"Hello Stranger"

"Baby, I'm Yours"

"Make Me Your Baby"

"Someday We're Gonna' Love Again"

"Spend a Little Time"

"Think a Little Sugar"

"On Bended Knee"

"Pushin' a Good Thing Too Far"

"Puppy Love"

"Oh, Be My Love"

"How Can I Tell You"

Let's hear it for Barbara Lewis! Can you hear the music?