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Linda Jones - Hypnotized (LP)

Linda Jones - Hypnotized (LP)

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Genre: soul
Rating: 5 stars *****
Title:  Hypnotized
Company: Loma
Catalog: 5907
Year: 1967
Country/State: Newark, New Jersey
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: minor edge wear
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6197
Price: $100.00

Dropped by ATCO after one flop single, she released a similarly obscure 45 for Leiber & Stoller's Black Cat imprint, but hit the relative big time in 1967 when she was signed by Russ Regany's Loma Records. Jones subsequently made her label debut with the release of 'Hypnotized' which provided her with a significant pop and R&B hit.

As was standard marketing practice for the time, taking advantage of her hit, Loma rushed Jones into the studio to record a supporting album - 1967's cleverly-titled "Hypnotized". While mid-1960s 'rush job' albums usually featured a throwaway collection of haphazard covers and musical flotsam and jetsam, this George Kerr produced album was one of the rare exceptions to the rule. Kerr was clearly entranced with Jones talent, taking great care to surround her with a uniformly strong selection of songs - there literally wasn't a weak track on the collection. Similarly, keyboardist Richard Tee's arrangements framed her dynamic voice in the best possible light. As for the performances themselves; wow this is literally a lost classic. Jones had a fantastic voice that was good on both ballads and up tempo material. You were left to wonder how any 23 year old could sing with so much 'experience' in her delivery - check out her mesmerizing performance on 'You Can’t Take It' and the bluesy 'Things I’ve Been Through (Loving You)'. To my ears, she was easily as impressive as prime Aretha Franklin. Equally impressive, according to Kerr, most of the songs were recorded in a maximum of three takes with little post-production work.

- Penned by future Persuaders Richard and Robert Poindexter, 'Hypnotized was simply a lost soul classic. Reportedly recorded in one take, Jones supposedly hated the song due to the fact she mispronounced the title as 'Hy-mo-tized'. No idea if that's true, but I have to tell you it doesn't make any difference. The way she stretches the word out and the little trills she adds to the lyric made for a killer performance and what may be her crowning performance. rating: ***** stars
- Immediately likeable and more commercial than 'Hypnotized', 'Can’t Stop Lovin’ My Baby' had a wonderful, bouncy, mid-1960s Motown-styled arrangement that's always reminded me a bit of early Marvin Gaye. Like Gaye at his best, Jones vocal managed to simultaneously blend self confidence with an aura of vulnerability. Sounds crazy, but what a performance ... One of my favorite songs on the album and the lyrics were hysterical ("he's my bread and meat, and butter ..." ) rating: ***** stars
- Picked as the album's third single, 'Give My Love a Try' was a touching big ballad with a killer chorus that served as a perfect example of Jones ability to stretch out a word. I'd love to know who the male backing group was - Kerr and the Poindexter brothers ? rating: *** stars
- An up tempo, take-no-prisoners stomper, 'You Can’t Take It' was worthwhile just to hear Jones sounding pissed off - I would not have wanted to meet her in a dark alley. You could literally feel her seething fury on this one. The male backing vocals were fantastic. rating: ***** stars
- Opening up with some pretty harpsichord flourishes, 'What’ve I Done (To Make You Mad)' was a Philadelphia-soul styled ballad Easy to see why Loma picked this as the second single. rating: **** stars
- If there was a weak song on the album, 'I Can’t Stand It' would probably get the nod. The song wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination (and it featured a fantastic sax solo), but Jones' rapid fire delivery and the slightly flat melody placed it in the also-ran category. rating: *** stars
- If there were such a thing as a 'pain index' on songs, Jones performance on the bluesy 'You Can’t Take It' would shatter the instrument. I'm usually not a big fan of spoken word vamps, but this one was an exception. Millie Jackson, eat your heart out. rating: **** stars
- With a breezy, almost bossa-nova tinged rhythm, 'If Only (We Had Met Sooner)' had top-40 hit scrolled all over it. Another one where the male backing vocals were the icing on the cake. rating: **** stars
- With a nifty slinky rhythm that climbed into your head and wouldn't leave, 'Make Me Surrender' captured Jones at her most playful. The interplay between Jones and the male backing singers was wonderful. Another one that should have been tapped as a single. rating: **** stars
- Returning to a Motown-styled arrangement, 'Last Minute Miracle' sounded like a Martha Reeves and the Vandellas outtake. The song had a tasty hook, but some of Jones uniqueness was lost in the arrangement. Still, being compared to one of Motown's best groups isn't meant as a criticism. rating: *** stars
- Once again showcasing her Gospel roots, 'Seeing Is Believing' was a big, bluesy old-school ballad. Her effortless delivery was simply stunning with the best part saved for last - check out the closing segment where Jones delivers her final comment on a straying partner ... "And that's when I saw you kissing my best friend, yes I did, last night and you might have been doing it other nights too". rating: **** stars

As mentioned above, three hit singles came off the album:

- 1967's 'Hypnotized' b/w 'I Can't Stop Loving M Baby' (Loma catalog number 2070) # 20 pop; # 4 R&B
- 1967's 'What've I Done (To Make You Mad)' b/w 'Make Me Surrender (Baby, Baby, Please)' (Loma catalog number 2077) # 61 pop; # 8 R&B
- 1967's 'Give My Love a Try' b/w 'I Can't Stand It' (Loma catalog number 2085) # 93 pop; # 34 R&B

Simply an amazing collection that no true soul fan should be without. It's one of a handful of album's I'd award a five star rating to.

As part of a package tour of R&B acts, Jones supported the album. She was reportedly given a chance to sing two songs and while her performances were well received, the tour did little to support sales.

"Hypnotized" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Hypnotized (Spolan - R. Poindexter) - 2:38
2.) I Can’t Stop Lovin’ My Baby (Miller - C. Harper) - 2:03
3.) Give My Love a Try (Richard Poindexter - Robert Poindexter - C. Harper) - 2:30
4.) You Can’t Take It (Richard Poindexter - Robert Poindexter - C. Harper) - 2:20
5.) What’ve I Done (To Make You Mad) (George Kerr - Hallon)- 2:20
6.) I Can’t Stand It (Smokey McAllister) - 2:20

(side 2)
1.) Things I’ve Been Through (Loving You) (Kerr - Harris) - 3:10
2.) If Only (We Had Met Sooner) (Kerr - Harris) - 2:38
3.) Make Me Surrender (Baby, Baby Please) (Kerr - Harris) - 2:34
4.) Last Minute Miracle (Kerr - Harris) - 2:31
5.) Seeing Is Believing (Kerr - Harris) - 3:14
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