Linda Jones became one of the great what ifs in soul and rhythm & blues music history when she passed away in 1972 at the age of 28 from complications of diabetes.
She had a unique vocal style that is more often used by jazz vocalists than her type of gospel laced rhythm and blues. It can best be termed a melismatic approach, which is the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession. This is opposed opposed to a syllabic approach in which each syllable of text is matched to a single note. It is a style that needs to be heard and while it may be a little outside of the listening mainstream, in the case of Linda Jones, it is unforgettable.
Her recording career lasted eight years and while she only had one big hit, “Hypnotized,” in 1967, she produced consistently excellent music for a number of labels. Real Gone Music has now gathered her output for three of those labels under the title The Complete Atco, Loma, & WB Recordings. The release includes her entire Hypnotized album, which is arguably the best and most consistent of her career.
Her cover of the soul standard “I (Who Have Nothing)” is both emotional and passionate. Her gospel influences shine through on tracks such as “Take The Boy Out Of The Country,” “My Heart Needs A Break,” and “I Just Can’t Live My Life (Without You Babe).” Her take on the Beatles “Yesterday” is both powerful and unique.
The music was recorded between 30-40 years ago and the remastered sound is surprisingly good considering the technology of the day. The liner notes present a good overview of her career and the recording sessions that produced the music contained in this release.
Linda Jones’ career was short and The Complete Atco, Loma & WB Recordings contains a significant portion of her recorded legacy. Hers was a somewhat different approach to soul music and it is worth exploring.