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St. Louis soul singer Barbara Carr has never truly received the attention she deserves. On Saturday night she’s headlining a fine Southern soul triple bill at the Solar Eclipse (aka the Eclipse) with Chick Willis and Roy Roberts. She was interviewed on WPFW briefly last week, which is where I first heard of the show. But I’m not sure how else it’s been advertised: I’ve seen no online mentions of the gig, other than on Robert’s Web site.
Carr recorded a few singles forthe Chess label in the ’60s, but when the company failed to support further releases, she got a day job and raised her kids. After sporadically recording singles in the ’70s and early ’80s, she finally released her debut album Good Woman Go Bad in 1989. Carr earned some attention when she signed with Memphis label Ecko in 1996. There she began used her deep, brash vocals to explore the raunchy lyrics of such songwriting teams as John Ward and Raymond Moore. Singing over guitars and synthesizer beats, Carr established an in-command reputation for herself with such adult-only numbers as “Bone Me Like You Own Me,” “If You Can’t Cut the Mustard,” and “Footprints on the Ceiling.” Her delivery of catchy hooks and bedroom-focused words finally allowed her to sell enough tickets and CDs on the chitlin circuit to make music fulltime. Recently she left Ecko and signed with CDS, another Southern soul label. Now 69 years old, she decided last year on Savvy Woman to prove she could deliver an old-school soul release. Her voice is still strong, but she’s dropped most of the double-entendres and synthesizers, instead opting for horns, guitar, and Hammond B3 organ. Roberts, a longtime North Carolina bluesy soul singer and guitarist, joins her on a few cuts.
Roberts will be opening, as will guitarist/singer Chick Willis, who frequently performs in this area. Willis is best known for his crude soul number “Stoop Down Baby.”
Barbara Carr, Chick Willis and Roy Roberts perform Saturday ay 8 p.m. at the Solar Eclipse, 2820 Bladensburg Rd. NE. $25-$30. (202) 526-3533.