Soul On Fire: The Best of LaVerne Baker
LaVern Baker wasn’t just one of the most driven, incendiary vocalists of the '50s, an era when the competition was stiff. Her synthesis of R&B, pop, and jazz balladry also set the stage for the soul innovations of the '60s. Because it was used in movies and TV, “Jim Dandy” became her most visible hit, although in the public’s mind it relegated her to one-hit-wonder status. She was known as a dame of early rock ‘n’ roll, something like a one-woman Coasters. In reality, Baker was noteworthy for the diversity of her talents, something that can’t be said for many early rock ‘n’ roll stars. She had an elastic voice that could convey the emotion of any scenario, from the sanctified fervor of “Saved” and the sweetness of “I Can’t Love You Enough” to the lust of “Still.” This collection confirms her reputation as a brassy shouter, but it also enriches her legacy. She was a master interpreter and gave everything she had to every performance. The performer represented by this collection is a singer of commitment and expertise.