Bass – David Brown, Edmund Collins, Ron Bogdon, Snoopy Dean
Design – Drago
Drums – Ivan 'Nick' Marshall, Jimmie Lee Harrell, John 'Duck' Sandlin, Robert Fergeson, Robert Johnson Guitar – James Knight , Jess 'Beaver' Carr, Snoopy Dean, Willie 'Little Beaver' Hale
Horns – Memphis Horns
Piano, Organ – Arnold 'Hoss' Albury, Benny Latimore, Bobby Birdwatcher
Piano, Organ - Clarence Reid
Rhythm arrangements by Little Beaver and Clarence Reid
Strings and horns arranged by Mike Lewis
Produced and engineered by Willie Clarke
Additional production by Clarence Reid
Liner Notes – Willie "Moon Man" Bacote
Photography By – Bruce Mac Callum
Back cover design by Drago
Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 - dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced (for 16-bit). Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.
* My copy of this LP is not pristine.. But it probably still sounds better than any recent CD versions, and it has that nice warm vinyl thing. The overall sound of this record, mix-wise, is kinda weird anyway (see below).
This is a start-to-finish gland slam of an album for Betty Wright. Although she was only 18 or 19 years old when this album was released, it was *not* her first record - that would be "My First Time Around" released when she was only 14. I don't know what accounts for the long break, I think she was finishing high school or something. Anyway she definitely doesn't sound like a teenager, but a woman wise in the ups and downs of life and love. It kind of blew my mind when I found this out. I mean I knew she had started out young, but I didn't realize she was literally just a kid.
So, the music. This is mostly straight-up funky southern soul, with a lot of Miami-area musicians. Alston Records would become TK Records in a few years. The record jacket has no session information on it, probably because they would have had to pay the type-setter more than they had in their budget. You can tell from listening to it that it sounds like it was recorded at a bunch of different sessions, and a glance at the credits with the insane number of bassists and drummers confirms that. There are some weird cameo appearances here - one of the drummers is Johnny Sandlin, later of Capricorn Records in Georgia, and one of the keyboardists is Benny Latimore later, um, of the band Latimore. This LP seems to have been patched together from material recorded between 1970 and 1972. "Pure Love," ,"Clean Up Woman," "I Love The Way You Love," and "I Found That Guy" (a remake of The Jackson 5's "I Found That Girl" ) were all released between 1970 and the release of this LP in 72. And for a patchwork quilt, the material all hangs together really well. The arrangements by guitarist Little Beaver and Clarence Reid are fantastic. The fidelity is weird in places, even when the actual mixes are all consistently good. Little Beaver (real name Willie Hale) and Reid wrote most of the material between the two of them. Producer Willie Clark gets writing credits on everything that isn't a cover song here, which makes me kind of suspicious that maybe he just added some cowbell and insisted on a credit. Just kidding, there is no cowbell on this album!
If you are collecting cover versions of Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" like I am (there are dozens!), this is one is a good addition to your collection. Holy crap listen to that bass guitar line! How did they get that tone? They kind of sweeten up the "I know, I know, I know..." part, and it works. Variety is the spice of life. "If You Love Me Like You Say You Love Me" is the one big stylistic shift as Betty takes on Northern Soul and serves it up righteously. But really this whole record is a reminder of why I am in the end a Southern Soul lover at heart. Also, although "Let's Not Rush Down The Road Of Love" is an original composition, you might recognize what the band is playing during the intro part where Betty speaks over it - it's a note-for-note stolen arrangement from Isaac Haye's "Walk On By." It's no "Ike's Rap" but its pretty neat.
You know, since this post started out with me talking about how damn young Betty was here, I can't resist saying something contemporary, against my better judgement. Lately there has been a lot of flap in the news about a certain Disney pop star who can't keep her tongue in her mouth. I dunno, I think she had been a mouseketeer or something, I'm not interested in the slut-shaming nonsense that seems to have been provoked from mostly white, mostly American people. I am not interested in whether she is setting an example for young girls. But I am interested in pointing out this - I do not find Miley Cyrus the least bit sexy. What do I find sexy and inspiring? Talent. That's why Ms. Cyrus and the dozens more just like her will never hold a candle to Betty White's flame.