Barbara Pennington – 1978 – Midnight Ride


Quite a wonderful 70s soul album with full orchestra and a glorious, soaring vocal by Barbara. The tunes are lovely and make for repeated listening. Highly recommended.

This album was sent by a new contributor Zero who runs a wonderful blog (here), I suggest you should visit it. You’ll find a lot of great music.

Barbara Pennington’s compelling, raise-the-dead voice is a cross between Chaka Khan’s and Gladys Knight’s, and is always exciting. Credit Ian Levine for sticking with the Chicago native he discovered in the ’70s on a mission to the Windy City. Levine’s at his best when he works with Pennington who delivers on the title track, “All Time Loser,” “Can’t Help Being Guilty,” and her first United Kingdom hits: “Running in Another Direction” and “Twenty-Four Hours a Day.”

This is a @320 vinyl rip (supplied by Zero) of the original LP including covers.

A1 Midnight Ride 4:47
A2 All Time Loser 6:33
A3 Trusted Friend 6:35
B1 Spend a Little Time With Me 6:15
B2 Can’t Help Being Guilty 5:30
B3 24 Hours a Day 3:22
B4 It’s so Hard Getting Over 4:05
B5 You Are the Music Within Me 3:31


In 1975, 22-year-old Englishman Ian Levine – already a successful Northern Soul DJ – wanted to start out as a producer and headed to Chicago to find some talented singers. Having worked with established soul group The Exciters, he held an audition and found three black singers he liked – Evelyn Thomas, L J Johnson and Barbara Pennington. He took them all to the studio in the summer of 1975, returned to England with the tapes and got them signed to 20th Century, Mercury and Island respectively. Barbara debuted with “Running in Another Direction” and went on a UK tour with Evelyn and L J to promote it but while her two colleagues had stronger promotion from their labels and both enjoyed Top 30 chart hits, Island wasn’t too supportive about Miss Pennington and the single sold a disappointing 5000 copies. After equally disappointing sales of the second single “…”, Levine went to the US and got her signed to United Artists. “24 Hours a Day” came out late 1976 and wasn’t geared towards the Northern Soul scene but rather to the rising disco market. The record with Barbara’s Chaka Khan-style vocals became a big hit on the American disco scene and remains one of Levine’s all-time favourites. Three more singles followed, all included in her first album Midnight Ride which was released 1978. Rather than being a disco record, this was a sophomore set of mellow soul.

Six years later, Levine sought her out again. He was now one of the leading producers of Hi-NRG, the electronic disco of the early 80s, and wanted to record with Barbara again. “All American Boy” who was “ready for action” and a “physical attraction” came out on Record Shack and became a big Hi-NRG hit and an obvious hit on the gay scene. Barbara herself, now residing in the UK, wasn’t too pleased with the record. She wasn’t into disco and rather wanted to do laid-back soul music instead. Consecuently, the intended follow-up single “Vanity” was instead given to Carol Jiani, and Barbara released “Way Down Deep in My Soul”, a mid-tempo soul track. It was, however, the next single “Fan the Flame” with doo-wop backing vocals and live brass which became a steady club and radio favourite and gave her a UK Top 40 hit. It was followed by “On a Crowded Street” which was equally popular, both tracks were taken from her 1985 album Out of the Darkest Night from which also the title track came out on single. By 1986, Levine had broken with Record Shack and formed his own Nightmare label, and “Don’t Stop the World” was the first single to come out on the label but it lacked the elegance of her previous singles and didn’t do well. Two more singles “There Are Brighter Days” and “I’ve Been a Bad Girl” followed over the next years but didn’t do that well either, and Barbara soon left show business for a 9-to-5 job by a phone company. The 90s saw increased interest in her works. “24 Hours a Day” was covered by DJ Nomad (aka Damon Rochefort) in 1992 and became a UK chart hit. Furthermore, Miami-based Hot Productions re-issued her two albums on CD with bonus tracks (including the previously unreleased “Vanity”) and also assembled a compilation, including her three Nightmare tracks.

Buy the AlbumBarbara Pennington – 1978 – Midnight Ride


Conversation for album: Barbara Pennington – 1978 – Midnight Ride

  • EW
    Posted at 13:36h, 27 August 2009 Reply

    Hi … great post, but there’s no link.

  • back
    Posted at 14:40h, 27 August 2009 Reply

    yeh yeh please homie

  • nikos1109
    Posted at 15:57h, 27 August 2009 Reply

    The link is ok now. Sorry for the delay. Enjoy!

  • Lafayette
    Posted at 16:27h, 27 August 2009 Reply

    Thanks Nikos…this looks perfect for a slow day at work! 😉

  • bowlisha1
    Posted at 18:13h, 27 August 2009 Reply

    Hey that YouTube clip got me! That song was a club favorite back in the day. Remember getting out there doin my thing big time on that one. Never knew who it was or anything about it once the record was over and I left the club. LOL.

    Thanks Zero and Nikos! It’s late but I now get to know a little about this artist thanks to Funk My Soul. 🙂

  • Adriano
    Posted at 18:41h, 27 August 2009 Reply

    Absolutely a great one. Thanks

  • rich
    Posted at 21:14h, 27 August 2009 Reply

    thanx zero cant wait to hear this

  • JTF
    Posted at 21:30h, 27 August 2009 Reply


  • invisiblenigma
    Posted at 03:33h, 28 August 2009 Reply

    Much Appreciated Zero!! This Looks Great. Can’t Wait to hear it. Peace

  • Lanus
    Posted at 09:19h, 28 August 2009 Reply

    lovely stuff, thanks

  • Dreamer456
    Posted at 18:55h, 28 August 2009 Reply

    Thanks so much.

  • Doris
    Posted at 20:08h, 28 August 2009 Reply

    This song still sounds awesome. So many memories from a great era!

  • tswift98
    Posted at 03:34h, 29 August 2009 Reply

    Thanks Zero, you’re the best!

  • Kevin
    Posted at 08:01h, 29 August 2009 Reply

    good one!!!! heard some of this before

  • Peter
    Posted at 11:19h, 29 August 2009 Reply

    Perfect! Thanx Zero and Nick.

  • jaguar
    Posted at 14:37h, 29 August 2009 Reply

    Great LP.

    One of Ian Levine’s finest artists.

  • Bar
    Posted at 12:05h, 30 August 2009 Reply

    I’ve never heard of this one … thank you.

  • Rod
    Posted at 09:49h, 31 August 2009 Reply

    Love that 24 Hours A Day track. I have to check out Barbara.

  • Leonidas
    Posted at 10:43h, 31 August 2009 Reply

    Thank you so much for all your work! Incredible…

  • Lafayette
    Posted at 12:11h, 31 August 2009 Reply

    Sorry, forgot all about welcoming Zero ion my last comment! Welcome! Much appreciated! 😀

  • phatrapper
    Posted at 16:04h, 31 August 2009 Reply

    Many thanks Zero & Nikos! Much appreciated.

  • Randy
    Posted at 20:05h, 31 August 2009 Reply

    Wow – this blog is awesome – love your work

  • Jay
    Posted at 10:14h, 01 September 2009 Reply

    Thanks so much for opening my eyes to so many gems.

  • Andre
    Posted at 22:21h, 01 September 2009 Reply

    OMG….I’ve been looking for this album forever, what a great site, will definitely be recommending this site to my friends, keep up the great work guys.

  • ghost 60
    Posted at 04:18h, 02 September 2009 Reply

    thanks for all the music

  • pedro
    Posted at 15:44h, 03 September 2009 Reply

    ah yes ian levine from blackpool uk mecca vs casino early stuff ok hng
    not for me lost all musicians just synthtic elecro,barbara great voice thanks for this ZERO

  • smith57
    Posted at 00:45h, 04 September 2009 Reply

    great post thanks

  • V
    Posted at 22:53h, 08 September 2009 Reply

    What an album, woooooooooooow
    So good, it;s almost unbelievable!

  • soulmanray
    Posted at 21:50h, 06 October 2009 Reply

    thanks for this Nikos

  • Maciko
    Posted at 18:23h, 07 October 2009 Reply

    Many thanks once again a great post

  • Robert
    Posted at 00:21h, 12 October 2009 Reply

    I’m a big late 70’s soul fan so it’s really appreciated!!

  • yodasbestmate
    Posted at 17:36h, 15 December 2009 Reply

    Thanks for dropping this one on us Nikos! Looks like I’ve been away too long!


  • urkelBot Brian
    Posted at 16:58h, 20 December 2009 Reply

    my ipod will never be the same..

  • hamnegger
    Posted at 23:41h, 10 April 2010 Reply


  • Bob Lantz
    Posted at 17:35h, 01 November 2010 Reply


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