may not have been one of the toughest or funkiest singers to appear on the Atlantic Records roster, but her hits for the label define pop-soul at its best, especially the subtle but wonderfully sexy "Hello Stranger," one of the most seductive tunes to ever make its way to AM radio. "Baby, I'm Yours" and "Make Me Your Baby" were nearly as memorable, and if Lewis
recorded numbers like "Puppy Love" and "My Heart Went Do Dat Da" a bit too often, she had the talent and the class to make something worthwhile of even the silliest material (and as it happens, she also wrote the latter two songs, as well as the sublime "Hello Stranger"). In 1994, Rhino Records released a definitive single-disc collection of Lewis
' recordings for Atlantic, Hello Stranger: The Best of Barbara Lewis
, and Rhino's British branch has recycled this compilation as part of their Platinum Collection
series of soul hits packages. The packaging for The Platinum Collection
isn't quite as attractive as Hello Stranger
, and it lacks the earlier disc's fine liner notes and detailed information on the original recordings, but this does contain the same twenty songs in the same order, all sung with cool passion and an easygoing sensuality by the remarkable Lewis
, and from a musical standpoint you can't do much better than this. Anyone who still makes make-out mixtapes in this day and age will want to have a copy of "Hello Stranger" on hand, and the rest of this collection won't spoil the mood, either.