Are you ready for some Windy City soul? That’s right, we’re off to Chicago this week to take in some of that city’s great sounds. Barbara Acklin wasn’t born in Chicago, but by the time she was five years-old her family had moved there. She was only 11 when she began singing solos for her church’s gospel choir, and by the time she was a teenager she was singing in Chicago’s clubs.
Acklin went to Dunbar High School and after graduation she got a job as a receptionist at St. Lawrence Records. It was on a St. Lawrence subsidiary, Special Agent, that Acklin released her first single. The record was produced by her cousin Monk Higgins (who also played sax), and released under the name Barbara Allen. Around the same time Acklin was working as a backing vocalist for Chess Records. Her voice appeared on recordings by Fontella Bass, Etta James, Koko Taylor, and others … (more)