Betty Wright – 1968 – My First Time Around / 1973 – Hard To Stop

Betty Wright – 1968 – My First Time Around

A late 60s southern soul gem from then 14-year-old belter Betty Wright, her early singles for the Alston label that eventually became her debut album for Atlantic.  Clarence Reid wrote most of the tracks, with arrangements and production handled by Steve Alaimo’s Marlin Productions. It’s done in the raw southern soul style which made that organization’s name at the time  and Betty carries that groove incredibly well, as well as a woman of any age group! Essential!

This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original Atco LP including covers

A1   Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do (2:04)
A2   Funny How Love Grows Cold (2:51)
A3   I’m Gonna Hate Myself In The Morning (2:11)
A4   Circle Of Heartbreak (2:58)
A5   Sweet Lovin’ Daddy (2:25)
A6   Cry Like A Baby (2:34)
B1   Watch Out Love (2:41)
B2   He’s Bad, Bad, Bad (2:22)
B3   I Can’t Stop My Heart (3:24)
B4   I’m Thankful (2:03)
B5   The Best Girls Don’t Always Win (3:08)
B6   Just You (3:06)

Betty Wright is like the female Bill Withers; that is to say, she’s an excellent soul artist even more criminally overlooked in current times than Withers, who had his own recent critical revival. The re-release of My First Time Around, one of Wright’s first records to really show her talent, might help getting her own movement going. As a barely-known album, recorded when Wright was just 14 years old, this re-release sounds like the revelation it must have been to the few people to catch it its first time around.

Remembered primarily for one Atlantic hit, “Clean Up Woman,” Ms. Wright has been in the news lately for helping 18-year-old Joss Stone sound like a credible soul singer. Wright was writing her own songs at an even younger age: My First Time Around has crackling stories of the kind of love you regret even while you’re making it (“I’m Gonna Hate Myself In The Morning”), with men you should be ashamed to know (“He’s Bad, Bad, Bad”). It’s hard to imagine how a 14-year-old Wright knew so much about that sort of subject matter, but no song here strikes a false note, not even the few happy spots, like the romantic hymnal “I’m Thankful.”

The music, provided by a fairly unknown group of musicians then working for Henry Stone’s Alston label, is note-for-note perfect, from the organ accenting “Circle of Heartbreak” to the horn section on “Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do,” appropriately the record’s hit single. In an alternate universe where artists get the recognition they deserve, Betty Wright is as well-known as Aretha Franklin. Now that My First Time Around is available again, hopefully the rest of us in this dimension will finally catch up. (By Josh Drimmer)

Since there’s no available video of this album, enjoy “The Babysitter” from “Hard To Stop”

Download link



Betty Wright – 1973 – Hard To Stop

A deep soul classic from Betty Wright  one of her earliest albums of the 70s, and a Miami soul landmark that was one of the greatest female southern soul records of the time! Although Betty was well known for her earlier hit “Clean Up Woman”, she didn’t give into that fame — and keeps things mighty real on this set by working in a slow-burning deep soul mode. The vibe is nice and laidback, with plenty of mellow keyboard touches, subdued horn passages, and round, full sound served up to perfection by producers Clarence Reid and Willie Clarke.

This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original Alston LP including covers

A1   I Am Woman (4:20)
A2   Sweet Wonder (2:26)
A3   The Experts (3:02)
A4   We The Two Of Us (3:00)
A5   Let Me Go Down (2:57)
B1   Gimme Back My Man (3:28)
B2   Who’ll Be The Fool (3:17)
B3  The Babysitter (3:02)
B4   If You Think You’ve Got Soul (2:15)
B5   It’s Hard To Stop (Doing Something When It’s Good To You) (3:14)

While Hard to Stop lacked a big classic hit on the order of “Clean Up Woman,” it was a very solid and varied platter of early-’70s soul. Distinguished by the tight, lean Miami funk-soul of the backup players (particularly guitarist Willie “Little Beaver” Hale), it did offer a couple of pretty big R&B hits with the jittery rhythms of “The Babysitter” and “It’s Hard to Stop (Doing Something When It’s Good to You),” which was about as bluesy as soul got in 1973. A far more off-the-wall highlight was the radical reinterpretation of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” which changed it from a hokey pop tune into something that sounded far more grittily proud and defiant. However, it’s a pretty consistent record throughout, with other cuts of note including “We the Two of Us,” which has a great effervescent Miami organ, and “If You Think You’ve Got Soul,” which weaves in and out of a quasi-tropical groove. The “Clean Up Woman” guitar rhythm is reprised on “Gimme Back My Man,” though to less memorable effect than on the hit single.

Uncut – p.122 4 stars out of 5 – “The album finds her growing effortlessly into her role as the leading lady of Miami soul with powerful treatises on love and womanhood…”
Mojo  – p.116
“A solid example of pre-disco Miami soul, featuring rubbery grooves much looser than Memphis stuff.”


Buy her vinyl and cd here and here . Listen her biggest hit “Clean Up Woman”

Download link



But Betty’s best career album is “Danger High Voltage” which you can find it here in our back pages.


Share This Post


  1. k02 says:

    Thanks again Nikos

  2. rich says:

    thanx a million nikos

  3. raggedy says:

    I’ll always love Betty Wright … She was one of a kind singer. Thanks for sharing these albums.

  4. invisiblenigma says:

    Much Thanks For these two classics, Nikos!!

  5. pedro says:

    thanks for these nikos love to see her live not much chance in aussie land but we live in hope

  6. manny says:

    thanks for posting

  7. Sara says:

    Betty’s music will continue to stand the test of time!!

  8. darcy says:

    Henry Stone always seemed pretty switched on to choosing hits but he missed “Gimme Back My Man”. Not really that similar to Clean Up Woman this would have been a massive hit if it had been released as a single. I think it could do business even now – Henry are you listening?

    Candi – Betty Wright – and Ann Peebles. They are all I need.

  9. whoknows says:

    thanks for these jewels, looking forward to sitting back and listening…

  10. Andre says:

    amazing. betty wright’s stuff is always good. much appreciated

  11. Danny says:

    Classics! thanks for the great music you share with us.

  12. Soul Bonanza says:

    Thank You again and again for your superb posts!

  13. Jess says:

    True class lasts forever.I remember singing “clean up woman” with my mom as a child what memories..

  14. Esther says:

    what an awesome track. Betty is a must have.

  15. Meredith says:

    Betty’s soulful singing……What a joy… Thanks nikos.

  16. John says:

    I love Betty Wright. Awesome post.

  17. Will says:

    Cool… I always wanted to hear those albums… thnx

  18. Fin says:

    I am just recently discovering soul music and this the best place to be. Appreciate the wonderful shares. Peace.

  19. hooch says:

    thanks nikos!

  20. Adam L. says:

    Excellent. By the way, you have one of the more excellent blogs on the web, appreciate you posting up music with descriptions!

  21. Soul is the Music says:

    Excellent! Had the debut on vinyl back in the days but lost it. Thank u.

  22. Hector says:

    Absolutely great singer! Bravo nikos.

  23. yodasbestmate says:

    looking forward to this… I’ve got hard to stop and high voltage already, but this looks great! 14 years old…. wow!


  24. Traveller says:

    Top class post as always. congratulations.

  25. Liam says:

    Betty is hot. Such a great singer…Thank you.

  26. Alec says:

    Thanks for sharing music from the heart.

  27. DonnaLee says:

    These albums are sober, classy soul as I like it.
    The overall production sound might be a bit too “clean”, but they (especially My First Time Around) really do it for me.

  28. Bruce says:

    Wonderful albums indeed. My fav is “Danger High Voltage”. I missed “My First Time Around” so thank you very much.

  29. SFBrother says:

    Thanks a lot, love it!

  30. Gabri says:

    Woah… Great share! I think she had a couple more great albums! Live 1978 is awesome too.

  31. nikos1109 says:

    Gabri, that live is really fantastic. I’ve got the vinyl too.

    Best known for its version of “Tonight Is the Night,” and an 11-minute medley of “Clean up Woman” with “Pillow Talk / You Got The Love/ Mr.Melody/ Midnight At The Oasis/ Me And Mrs Jones/ You’re My Sunshine/Let’s Get Married Today”

    Really hot………….

  32. Mr sam says:

    Really good! Thanx so much

  33. Victor Serge says:

    All of Betty Wright’s back catalogue in one place! Your blog is a gem.

  34. Midnitegroove says:


  35. Noelia says:

    Just the only two Betty Wright albums I did not have! Thanks so much, Nicos!!

  36. kumokumo says:

    Totally awesome. Killer albums. Your blog is the best. Thanks!

  37. cleffdeadly says:

    this to me is her best album, can’t believe she was only 14! a classic…

  38. Geewiz says:

    I always loved her southern soul!

  39. brotherpete says:

    betty’s so great, so fine, so beautiful! Thanks!

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