Thursday, August 5, 2010

Betty Harris - Soul Perfection (1969)

During a 1965 tour Betty Harris met New Orleans composer and producer Allen Toussaint, and with the superbly slinky "I'm Evil Tonight" she became the first artist to record for his fledgling Sansu label. With Toussaint at the helm, the bluesy balladry of Harris' Jubilee sides gave way to a funky, sensual dynamic that heralded a new era of New Orleans R&B. The 1966 ballad "Sometime" was backed by the brilliant "I Don't Want to Hear It," Toussaint's edgiest and most aggressive production to date. The subsequent "12 Red Roses" further refined the approach, and with 1967's "Nearer to You" Harris finally returned to the R&B Top 20, delivering another sublimely emotional performance.

"Love Lots of Lovin'," a duet with fellow Toussaint charge Lee Dorsey, closed out the year -- Harris planned to support the record on tour with Otis Redding, but on December 10, the soul giant lost his life in a plane crash. Harris forged on, with 1968's "Mean Man" delivering her grittiest effort to date; backed by a session group that would soon evolve into the Meters. She ended her Sansu tenure with the fierce "Trouble with My Lover."

1969 LP Soul Perfection (US Action ACLP-6007)

01. Betty Harris - Ride Your Pony
02. Betty Harris - What A Sad Feeling
03. Betty Harris - Bad Luck
04. Betty Harris - I'm Gonna Git You
05. Betty Harris - Show It
06. Betty Harris - Can't Last Much Longer
07. Betty Harris - I Don't Want To Hear It
08. Betty Harris - Sometime
09. Betty Harris - Mean Man
10. Betty Harris - Lonely Hearts
11. Betty Harris - Hook Line 'N' Sinker
12. Betty Harris - What'd I Do Wrong
13. Betty Harris - Trouble With My Lover
14. Betty Harris - Nearer To You
15. Betty Harris - I'm Evil Tonight
16. Betty Harris - 12 Red Roses

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