Best of Broward / Palm Beach

Best Of South Florida Music 2011: Betty Wright & the Roots - Betty Wright: The Movie

County Grind is counting down 2011's best local albums in South Florida. Monitor our progress here.

Betty Wright is our local soul survivor. She's been doing the damned thing right since she was 12 years old. If you've heard the 1960s Eccentric Soul: Deep City Label compilation, you've heard a preteen Wright singing sweeter than a Velvette. When she was barely 18, she scored a Top Ten hit with the Clarence "Blowfly" Reid-penned "Clean Up Woman." For the past 40 years, she's been in and out of the spotlight, releasing albums and coaching today's vocal acrobats.

It's the time Wright spent out of the spotlight that makes her sound so bold and makes Betty Wright: The Movie feel so real. She's worked too hard to just be a prima donna. So when she sings about facing financial woe, acting right, and making love last, we believe her.

As a singer with such a wide vocal range, she could've taken the showboat route and caterwauled every syllable. We admire her economy and restraint; her voice locks in perfectly with the Roots' cool backing tracks.

With ?uestlove at the helm, The Movie is more a trip into Wright's world than a fish-out-of-water story. Guest spots by Snoop and Lil' Weezy are a perfect pinch of salt in Betty's wonderful home-cooked meal. If someone with less taste, talent, and knowledge had produced this, it's likely we would've found our woman fumbling through Auto-Tune, samples of herself, and champagne-room beats.

New Times on Facebook | County Grind on

Facebook | Twitter | e-mail us |

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jose Flores
Contact: Jose Flores