20 R&B Albums Rolling Stone Loved in the 1970s You Never Heard

We praised them 40 years ago — and you should listen to them today!

Linda Lewis, 'Lark'
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Linda Lewis, 'Lark'

Lewis had a five-octave vocal range, an extraordinary instrument like Mariah Carey's or Minnie Riperton's. On her second album, this 22-year-old Brit made an unusual type of soul music: stripped down, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar and piano, casual, "a delight." She had some British chart success but ended up working mostly as a backing vocalist; in 2005, Common's single "Go!" (a collaboration with Kanye West and John Mayer) sampled her "Old Smokey."

What We Said Then: "Linda Lewis has this very strange voice. It's like a little girl's: high, with a breathy sort of purity, full of recklessness and wit. But it also has an unexpectedly rough texture which cuts into the little-girl quality so that, while she sounds like no one else, there are moments when she feels like early Stevie Wonder crossed with Michael Jackson — an extraordinary combination." — Vince Aletti, RS 132 (April 12th, 1973)

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