Picks and Pans Review: Read My Lips

updated 06/26/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/26/1989 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Lou Ann Barton

Why bother? When you can belt them out as penetratingly as this blues singer, reading lips would be pretty superfluous. We sure don't need to read her driver's license either to know where she's from. On such songs as "Can't Believe You Want to Leave" and "Mean Mean Man," Barton's Texas twang is readily apparent.

Unstudied and unpretentious in delivery, Barton doesn't have an overpowering voice, but she's wiry and smart—smart enough to thrive within her limits. On her third album—only the first, in 1982, was on a major label—she struts and wrangles her way through a treasury of lean, cut-to-the-bone blues numbers. She's joined by, among others, her former bandmates in the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Guitarist Jimmie Vaughan certainly gets his licks in on the blues vamp "Sugar-Coated Love."

Barton doesn't come to the blues as the broken-hearted gal sitting at the end of the bar crying into her Pearl beer. She's more aggressive than that. She's most striking on a slowed-down, bluesed-up version of Slim Harpo's "Shake Your Hips" and Faye Adams's "Shake a Hand." Honest and unapologetically passionate, Barton is that most appealing of nature's forces: a natural woman. (Antone's)

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