News Column

Betty could make Fiesta Center the 'Wright' place to be Friday

June 20, 2014

By William Kerns, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Texas

June 20--Betty could make Fiesta Center the 'Wright' place to be

Earlier June bookings by headliners Jack White and Sir Paul McCartney -- illness forcing postponement of the latter show -- are not the only concerts that found music fans first making calls to Lubbock for confirmations and eventually making reservations for memories.

Be assured that those attending Friday's appearance by Betty Wright at the Fiesta Center, 1902 E. Fourth St., will enjoy the strong vocals that helped her claim yet another Grammy nomination for a recording of traditional rhythm 'n' blues with Philadelphia's The Roots just more than a year ago.

Indeed, if McCartney still can rock out at 72, be assured that Betty Wright continues to attract fans at 60 with her R&B mastery.

This woman does not mind taking risks and making history, the most obvious example arriving in the mid-1980s when not only did she decide to form her own record label but, that very next year, became the first black female artist to earn a gold album on her own label with the release of "Mother Wit."

Sure, that was decades ago.

Yet this woman with so-called signature songs "Clean Up Woman" and "Tonight Is the Night" continues to make efforts to supply more.

Some thought she might do just that with a Grammy-nominated, nine-minute song about domestic abuse called "Go," although the sheer length of that song would bring no smiles to program directors for radio, especially those working for AM stations.

Still, if she is now 60, some might be amazed to learn that she has been working for much more than 50 years, having been recruited into her siblings' vocal group at age 2.

(Wright is the youngest of seven sisters.)

She was contributing vocals at 3 and, when the sisterly group broke up when she was 11, she gave up gospel in favor of R&B.

At 12, a Miami record label owner heard her and was able to sign her to a contract -- and at 13, such songs as "Paralyzed" and "Thank You Baby" found her introduced to local fame for the first time.

While still in high school, she began finding chart success, at 14 with "Girls Can't Do What Guys Do," and at 16 with "Pure Love."

She earned her first gold record with "Clean Up Woman" by the time she turned 18. That tune reportedly stayed at No. 2 on the R&B charts for eight weeks -- while over on the pop charts, the same song peaked at No. 5.

Wright has released literally dozens of songs on at least 18 albums between 1968, when she was 14, and 2014.

And her fans have remained, if anything, even more loyal.


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Source: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (TX)

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