Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sweet Betty's Live & Let Live

Based in Atlanta, Sweet Betty started singing in church and later after singing around was encouraged and featured by saxophonist Grady ‘Fats’ Jackson. Performing, she made many fans including Bob Margolin who introduced her to Tim Duffy, head of the Music Maker Relief Foundation. 

Sweet Betty had a cd on JSP some years ago, but it was a special treat to receive from the Music Makers Foundation her newest recording, Live & Let Live. On it she is backed by bassist Bill Rich and drummer Kester Smith of Taj Mahal’s band, keyboards from Dave Keyes and a variety of other musicians that provide a definite uptown blues and deep soul feel. The material covers a range of moods and grooves. 

The disc opens with the shuffle, Party, where Betty launches into her vocal with the force of a Koko Taylor although with a bit cleaner deliver. Next she handles Eddie Hinton’s soulful Everybody Needs Love, and Joe South’s Untie Me. The title track has a nice funk groove with Sweet Betty soulfully telling us that we have to live for oneself and not someone else, but most importantly live, live and let live and love one another. Touched By You is a strong southern blues number with a nice dance groove followed by a terrific rendition of Damn Your Eyes. Other pleasures to be heard include Sam Cooke’s Ain’t That Good News and two gospel numbers that close out this wonderful release. 

This is yet another nice addition to the Music Maker catalog and can be purchased from the website, Purchases not only support the artist but also the mission to help the pioneers of Southern musical traditions.  Visit the website,

This review originally appeared in the November 2005 DC Blues Calendar. I do not know if I received this from Music Maker Foundation as a premium for membership or received a review copy. Here is a video clip of her backed by The Shadows at Blind Willie's in Atlanta.

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