Sam’s Burger Joint has quietly become a haven for underappreciated rock ’n’ roll pioneers, if you consider last year’s performance by rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson and the recent visit by surf-guitar master Jerry Cole. Sam’s next history lesson will come from Barbara Lynn, one of the great, unsung R&B figures of the early 1960s.
Lynn, a 64-year-old Beaumont native, is unique on several fronts. At a time when few female singers played an instrument, she handled a guitar with aplomb. Also, at a time when the Runaways and the Go-Go’s were mere twinkles in their parents’ eyes, Lynn fronted an all-female band. Most crucially, she was a highly soulful singer with a yearning, melancholy tone that elevated even her lesser material. Lynn made her biggest splash with the classic tearjerker “You’ll Lose a Good Thing” (a country-pop hit more than a decade later for Freddy Fender), and went on to record a few minor hits, including “Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin),” which was later covered by the Rolling Stones.
The Empress of Gulf Coast Soul is on the comeback trail these days, and her first San Antonio show in a decade will be a welcome opportunity to watch a first-generation R&B legend demonstrate how it’s done. Lynn, backed by the Jimmy Spacek Band, will headline Sam’s Billy Blues Reunion on Saturday. The all-ages show, which also includes the Earfood Orchestra, runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., with a $10 cover. Call 223-2830 for more details.