Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Betty's Dozen

Betty Harris - 12 Red Roses

Betty Harris' great soul records have graced a couple of episodes of the podcast (my favorite, "Mean Man," appeared in the premiere episode), but today marks her first appearance on the blog. I must refer you to the Larry Grogan's Funky 16 Corners profile for some biographical and recording history details, as it is solidly-written, and to Dean Farrell's Soul Express pages, which include an article from the Hartford Advocate about Betty's return to the stage in the last few years. There is also a MySpace fan page that you should check out!

Today's selection is one of the most "New Orleans"-sounding of the sides she recorded with Allen Toussaint for his Sansu label. As Larry appropriately notes in his profile, "'12 Red Roses' shows the hallmarks of Toussaint's crack studio band ... The sound is unmistakably that of the band that brought life to so many Lee Dorsey classics, as well as the records of Sansu label-mates like Eldridge Holmes and Curly Moore." The groove bounces along on this one and Betty works the "counting" lyric for all it's worth. The backup vocals are right out of the "Lee Dorsey record" school and are very effective in the bridge that follows the final verse, where they almost get into Impressions territory. It's a nice piece of "get on down" that has been getting a lot of play in my car lately.

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