When Betty Wright Live
was first released in 1978, there was some speculation on whether or not it was really a live album or simply a studio recording with canned applause. To be sure, the applause doesn't sound authentic, and the original LP's liner notes listed neither a recording date nor a location. But whether it was recorded on stage or in the studio, this album (reissued on CD in 1992) provides much evidence of Wright
's vitality as a singer. Live
became best known for its version of "Tonight Is the Night," a moving account of a young woman losing her virginity to her first true love. But the gritty Miami soulster is equally expressive on Leon Russell
's "A Song for You" and versions of her hits "Where Is the Love" and "Clean Up Woman" (which is performed as the main song in an 11-minute medley). Even if the title Betty Wright Live
is an example of false advertising, this is a recording that fans of gritty, emotionally direct Southern soul would do well to experience.