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Barbara Moore: Swinging Pop

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The British rock invasion of the mid-1960s had a profound effect on American music and the culture at large. For the first time in history, adolescents held sway over the record industry. By decade's end, the generation's influence extended to virtually all corners of the marketplace, and everything became more youthful. Kids no longer wanted to look grown up, and neither did adults. Fashion, car design, home furnishings, dancing, TV, hairstyles became much more sporty. Men who reached their mid-life crisis years eyed younger women as a way to revitalize their self-image. The sexual revolution was underway. Skirts shortened as sideburns and men's hair grew longer.

Interestingly, this trend wasn't limited to the U.S. Throughout Western Europe, the bachelor class was feeling its oats. In Europe, a new form of easy-listening music surfaced to meet the new tastes of happening men and women. Mood music had a distinctly brassy and cool feel—Peter Sellers meets Astrud Gilberto. The music wasn't to relax by but music to do just the opposite.

Hundreds of albums in this groovy category—a genre I call “swinging pop"—feature breezily arranged young male and female singers and sultry bands. Think Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66, Singers Unlimited and the Fifth Dimension. It's too easy to call this music “lounge." It clearly was designed to appeal to a young-adult male market in Europe.

The queen of this swinging-pop vocal sound was Barbara Moore. A first-call studio background singer, she was a member of the Anita Kerr Singers in 1966 as well as the Ladybirds, who sang backup on the BBC TV's Top of the Pops. Later in the 60's and '70s, Moore led her own swinging vocal group known as the Barbara Moore Singers, who recorded on many British pop singles, films and lounge albums as well as on sessions for commercial background music.

Over time, I'll share more of this highly addictive European “swinging pop" with you. It's yet another genre I stumbled across while wandering around YouTube.

Here's Barbara Moore on the high notes on Should I from Stan Butcher's Birds and Brass (1966)...



Here's Moore (right, with glasses) singing behind Dusty Springfield with Madeline Bell (left) and Leslie Duncan (center) in 1967...



One of the finest albums by the Barbara Moore Singers is Voices in Latin (1968). Here's I've Walked Alone...



From Moore's Vocal Shades and Tones album in 1972, here's Fly Paradise...



Here's Moore on the Roger Webb Sound in 1971 singing Sweet Thing...



Here's Hot Heels from Barbara Moore's Vocal Shades and Tones in 1972...



Here's an interview with Moore, including Moore conducting Fly Paradise...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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