A pop-soul vocalist in the vein of Dionne Warwick or Brenda Holloway, Barbara Acklin is best known for her R&B/pop hit "Love Makes a Woman" from the summer of 1968. The only child of Herman and Hazel Acklin, Barbara Jean Acklin was born February 28, 1943, in Oakland, CA; in 1948, the family moved to Chicago, IL. Like many great soul singers, Acklin honed her vocal skills in the church choir (in her case, at Big Zion Baptist Church) at an early age. As a teenager, she began singing in nightclubs while attending Dunbar Vocational High School. Upon graduation, she was hired as a secretary for local label St. Lawrence Records by her cousin, producer/saxophonist Monk Higgins (his release "Who Dun It" made the national R&B charts in 1966 and he co-produced Bobby Bland's late-'70s/early-'80s ICA hits). Higgins recorded an Acklin single under the name Barbara Allen for his Special Agent label. Later, Higgins used Acklin as a background singer on his Chess Records sessions.