Barbara West’s career in the music biz is intertwined with that of her friend Toussaint McCall, and it is a pound to a penny bet that she joined Stan Lewis’ Ronn roster as a result of McCall’s national smash “Nothing Takes The Place Of You”. Barbara went to Fame studios at Muscle Shoals with McCall towards the end of 1967 when the latter was sent there by Lewis to try and get another big hit. They recorded a fine duet version of “Let It Be Me” which remained in the can, but they recorded solo sides as well.

West’s first release was a very tasty version of Theola Kilgore’s excellent “The Love Of My Man”, on which her deep tone and perfect timing came over really well. Even better than this ballad was the toetapper “Will He Come Back”. The sessions were controlled by Lewis’ “man on the spot” DJ Gene Kent. McCall provided both of Barbara’s second Ronn release in mid 1968.  “Oh Little Boy” was a pleasant beat ballad while the funky little uptempo “I’m A Fool For You Baby” with its party atmosphere grabs the attention.

But the third 45 moved everything into a whole new dimension. Jeff Barry’s beautiful ballad ListenAnyone But You was first recorded by Ruth Brown in 1961 and Ruth’s cut is superbly realised, but the Muscle Shoals guys and Kent turn the song into the perfect deep southern soul ballad. With some tasteful strings and Barbara’s utterly memorable phrasing and emotional depth this is surely a pinnacle of deep soul. The flip, a version of Betty Everett’s excellent “You’re No Good” can’t help but suffer in comparison.

The songs on West’s fourth and final 45 for Ronn both came from the pen of Toussaint McCall, with the top side ListenGive Me Back The Man I Love being another slice of deep soul heaven, complete with a really well arranged rhythm section and some cooing background girls. The flip “Congratulations Baby” has had plays on the Northern scene and is, therefore the weakest of her Ronn sides.


Back home in Louisiana Barbara west continued her association with McCall, recording songs on his own Nu-Sound label in the 70s and 80s. The duet on “You Send Me” is pleasant enough and “I’m A Fool For My Baby” is a recut of the Ronn cut. But Barbara doesn’t seem to have made any more recordings than these.












Will he come back / The love of my man ~ RONN 16 (1967)
Oh! Little boy / I’m a fool for you baby ~ RONN 22 (1968)
ListenAnyone but you / You’re no good ~ RONN 27 (1968)
ListenGive me back the man I love / Congratulations baby ~ RONN 32 (1969)
I’m a fool for my baby ~ NU SOUND 102 (1984?) (Note – flip by TOUSSAINT McCALL)


Medley darling you send me ~ NU SOUND 101(late 70s) (Note – flip by TOUSSAINT McCALL)




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