Soul Flashback – November 1968

Let’s flash back to a couple of noteworthy Miami soul classics from 45 years ago this month.

sfb long

He’s Bad, Bad, Bad – Betty Wright

 
Local soul singer Betty Wright was fresh off her first hit record, “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do” and rolling into the fall of 1968. But momentum doesn’t last long in the music business. bw 68ALSTON Records, the Miami record label run by Steve Alaimo and Henry Stone which had released Wright’s first single, was clamoring for another hit song by the 14-year old up-and-comer.  Clarence Reid, the composer behind her first hit, suggested a song titled “Don’t Make the Good Girls Go Bad” as a natural follow-up, a kind of sequel in the same style and narrative of the first song. But Alaimo reportedly rejected it for those very reasons.

So Reid and his writing partner, Willie Clarke, composed “He’s Bad, Bad, Bad” for Wright. In this track, Wright shows off her Aretha-like chops and swag. And backed up by a trio of girls, a couple of horns, and a bluesy guitarist, she earned herself another hit record.

By November 1968, “He’s Bad, Bad, Bad” had climbed into the top ten singles charts at Miami’s leading soul station WAME “Whammy” Radio. While the track is not one of Wright’s more widely recognized singles, it nevertheless showed the music world that this Miami teenager was not to be taken lightly.http://www.dianalevine.comdianalevinephoto@gmail.com

Flash Forward: Betty Wright is still doing her thing. At last check, she had released a soul revival album in 2011 in association with The Roots. 

She lives in Miami.

____________________

Don’t Make the Good Girls Go Bad – Della Humphrey

 
The second song from November 1968 is in my humble but informed opinion the more notable of the Soul Flashback hits not only due to its back story but because it gave rise to yet another 14 year old star – Della Humphrey.ps_2013_02_05___14_28_121

The legend goes that when Clarence Reid’s initial follow up song for Betty Wright was rejected by ALSTON, he took the lyrics to Ms. Humphrey, a Miami teenager who until then had sung in her Overtown church choir and had won a few singing contests around town.

“Don’t Make the Good Girls Go Bad” was released not on any Miami label (due to Reid’s disdain for ALSTON’s response to it), but instead by a Philadelphia record label he had connections to.  The song reached #1 with local radio stations and bumped aside Betty Wright momentarily from the top of the charts.

Humphrey reached her musical peak with that song and sadly, her career floundered after that. But the song remains a soul classic.

Flash Forward: Della Humphrey lives in a town north of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Bill. She has Mardella2a small music studio set up in her home for whenever she feels like laying down a few vocal tracks.

(For the full story on Della Humphrey, read “The Della Humphrey Experience,” which was featured in a prominent post here in December 2012.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s