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Betty Harris took to the stage at the legendary 100 Club with a smile and a cheeky groove that belied her age. At almost 80 she can tell a tale or two about a pop world in its infancy.
It was 1963 when she first made it into the Billboard chart with Solomon Burke’s hit of the previous year ‘Cry To Me’. She recalls the time with fondness before her 12-strong-band get to work. Her voice may have seen stronger days but it still packs a punch and that gleam in her eye is definitely still there. In a sparkling black, strapless gown, Betty holds the stage with a indominatable spirit, as she launches into another big crowd pleaser with ‘He Man’.
“Most of these songs were written about bad guys, but if you haven’t found me yet forget it” she says to the sound of laughter. She works the stage from end to end and introduces her three backing singers one of whom takes on the vocal duties for her 1967 release ‘Can’t Last Much Longer’.
Highly regarded in Northern Soul circles her soul routes back in New Orleans (said in a way only someone from New Orleans can) still resonate. After coming out of a 35 year self imposed absence between 1970-2005 in order to devote her time to her family she finally got back to doing what she does best. The 100 Club is packed with all ages making the most of this rare visit from this highly rated American Soul singer, another great AGMP booking.
After the show DJ Wendy May got the Northern Soul contingent dancing with some unique and entertaining moves, and we all left feeling uplifted by the experience.
Soul Jazz Records has just released “Betty Harris: The Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul” a compilation of all her Northern Soul, Sister Funk & Deep Soul sides on one album for the first time and well worth a listen.Share