Steelers/Barbara Acklin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Steelers/Barbara Acklin

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Legendary names from the glory days of Chicago soul music make a rare appearance on a show that promises to be equal parts sweet nostalgia and contemporary R & B workout. The Steelers, although they charted nationally only once ("Get It From the Bottom" in 1969), have remained among our city's most dependable and popular musical aggregations for nearly 30 years. In the words of Chicago soul historian Robert Pruter, they "never made a ... bad record; they were too good a group." Their harmonies are among the most thrilling ever unleashed on a pop record, and their overall sound--jaunty and danceable, yet slyly sensuous--helped define the unique Windy City "soft soul" sound of the 60s and 70s. Barbara Acklin, best known for her 1968 smash hit "Love Makes a Woman," continued to have hits through the early 70s, and her appearance at the 1994 Chicago Blues Festival showed that she's remained stylistically contemporary as well as musically robust. Like the Steelers, she specializes in breezy pop soul with a subtle yet profound edge to it: beneath her soaring soprano vocals and the lightly propulsive rhythms of her tunes lies a knowing worldliness that harks back to the gospel roots of her south-side childhood. Saturday, 8 PM, Tyrone Davis Entertainment Center, 1744 N. Central; 637-3699.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Bruce Powell.

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