Monday, March 3, 2008

Betty Everett - There'll Come A Time

Most folks remember Betty Everett primarily for one huge pop hit in the 60's, but she was also a phenomenal soul singer who, like so many others, has amassed a huge catalog of excellent sides that have been ignored by the general public.

Betty, born in Greenwood, Mississippi in 1939, started playing the piano and singing in church at the age of nine. She continued singing in gospel choirs as she grew up, finally moving to Chicago in 1957.

She recorded songs on some of the local Chicago labels such as C.J., Cobra and OneDerful in the late 50s and early 60s, scoring local hits such as "I'll Be There" and "I've Got A Claim On You." In the early sixties she signed with Vee-Jay records. One of her first releases for the label was "You're No Good," a midtempo number that stalled just short of the Top 50 late in 1963.

[Sidebar: In 1974, cover queen Linda Ronstadt's rendition of "You're No Good" skyrocketed to number one in the United States.]
Everett finally hit pay dirt when she recorded the Top 10 smash, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)" in the Spring of 1964.

[Sidebar: "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)" was covered by Linda Lewis and made it to the Top 10 in the UK. Cher took a turn at covering "The Shoop Shoop Song" in 1990 and reached #33 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart in the U.S., #3 in Germany and France, #5 in Australia and #1 in the UK making it her most successful single to date, selling more than six million copies worldwide.]

Her follow-up Vee-Jay releases,including "I Can't Hear You" and "Getting Mighty Crowded" didn't fare as well, however.

Later in 1964, Betty performed a duet with another prominent Chicago-area singer, Jerry Butler, that landed her her second Top 10 hit. Other Everett/Butler singles followed, as well an entire album of duets entitled Delicious Together.

After Vee Jay folded in 1966, Betty signed to ABC records but found no commercial success. Finally, in 1969, Everett signed with Uni records, where she released her 1969 LP, There'll Come A Time. The title track would wind up being both her last top forty hit as well as her first entry in the soul charts, climbing to the number two spot.

In the following years, Betty continued recording and managed to place five more records onto the soul charts among her releases for Uni, Fantasy, and Sound Stage 7 labels between 1970 and 1977.

From the 1980s until her death, Everett resided in Beloit, Wisconsin, where she was involved in the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and the churches of the Fountain of Life and New Covenant. In 2000, she made her last public appearance on the PBS special Doo Wop 51.

Everett died in her home in Beloit on August 19, 2001; she was 61 years old.

For this week's post, I've pulled out Betty Everett's 1969 Uni LP, "There'll Come a Time". reviewer Richie Unterberger gives his $.02 about the album. [There'll Come a Time] ...has much more of a sweet soul flavor than her Vee-Jay sides, at times blending the trademarks of her brassy native Chicago scene with a Philadelphia influence. It's far from too sweet, though, with strong material, punchy arrangements, and Everett's always dependably energetic and warm vocals. It also contains the R&B hit "I Can't Say No to You."

If you can find it, the now out of print 1995 Varese Sarabande CD reissue includes three hard-to-find singles released between 1969 and 1970 that were previously unavailable on any album, including the Top 20 R&B hit "It's Been a Long Time," penned by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Jerry Butler with arrangements handled masterfully by Donny Hathaway.

If you're looking for the CD reissue, the last time I checked there was a pricey copy still up for grabs on but you can always try your luck here instead.

You could also try to snag an original vinyl copy on the 'bay or maybe even GEMM.

Featured cut: "1900 Yesterday"

Listen to the full album here


soulbrotha said...

I love Bettye. Damn, she died at 61? I wonder if it was lung cancer from cigarettes?

Looking forward to this. Thanks, man. Keep up the great work!

Errol said...

thank you.

Mortimer said...

I haven´t any work of Betty and after listening, I've liked it very much. Thanks.

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