Girl with guitar: publicity still

Photo session for debut LP You'll Lose A Good Thing, 1963

Meaux chose this moment to abandon his occupation as a barber to enable him to devote his time to managing the career of his new young star. Barbara spent much of the next year on the road with her mother as chaperone, and played many of the top venues in the country. An excellent follow-up, "Second Fiddle Girl," was soon joined in the record stores by Barbara's You'll Lose A Good Thing album, featuring ten tracks that were composed by the lady herself, as was her next 45, "You're Gonna Need Me."

Her first release of the next year was a strong version of the Presley classic, "Don't Be Cruel," harking back to her "Black Elvis" teenage years fronting the Idols. But it continued a downward spiral of chart placings, as did Barbara's next 45, "To Love Or Not To Love," which did not progress above 'bubbling under' status. "(I Cried At) Laura's Wedding" restored the singer to the lower third of the Hot 100, but her last two singles of 1963, "Dedicate The Blues To Me" and "Money," failed to chart at all, and marked a year in which Barbara had released precisely none of her own compositions.

Oh, Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')

The self-penned and rocking "Oh, Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')" was a great return to form and deserved better than its low national Pop chart placing. Like many, if not all, of Barbara's releases, the track fared much better in the R'n'B marketplace and was a huge success in the Gulf States. The classic Atlantic label various artists live album Saturday Night At The Uptown closed with Barbara's excellent performance of the song recorded at the famous Philadelphia venue in July 1964. (Hopefully, the version by the Rolling Stones has earned her some royalties over the years.) There followed two smaller chart successes, "Don't Spread It Around" and "It's Better To Have It," which proved to be Barbara's last hits for Jamie. Her tenure at the label came to an end following the surprise flop of four singles in 1965, after which she switched to Huey Meaux's Tribe logo.

I'm A Good Woman

Many of Barbara's compositions were what might be termed women's songs, few more so than her Tribe debut, "I'm A Good Woman," an uncompromising tango which must have touched a raw nerve with all mistreated spouses who heard it. The track hovered beneath the Hot 100 in the summer of 1966 and boasted, in the calypso-styled "Running Back," a very commercial flip-side. Barbara's original version of Dan Penn and Rick Hall's now famous song, "You Left The Water Running," was her top of the range follow-up. Although a modest R'n'B hit, it also just failed to reach the Pop chart. The Joe Tex-composed "Watch The One (That Brings The Bad News)" was the type of strong narrative number at which Barbara excelled, but her bluesy reading failed to click with consumers, as did her fourth and final Tribe 45, "I Don't Want A Playboy." Barbara's excellent "Sugar Coated Love," released on Meaux's small Copyright label, was perhaps again too rootsy to appeal to the masses.

Atlantic Records

September 1967 marked a change of direction for Barbara, as she switched recording location to Clinton, Mississippi for sessions cut under the guidance of the team of Cliff Thomas, Ed Thomas, and Bob McRee, the fruits of which were leased by Meaux to Atlantic Records in New York. The resulting Ozen-penned "This Is The Thanks I Get" ended Barbara's three-year dry period when it hit the Hot 100 early in 1968. It was soon followed by her second album, Here Is Barbara Lynn, recorded at subsequent sessions with the same team.