Betty Harris had one hit in 1963 with a simmering version of "Cry to Me," which she took at a slower pace than Solomon Burke had just one year earlier. Harris went on to make a series of great records that never brought her the fame she deserved. She turned her back on music in 1970 to take business classes and raise a family. Harris wasnt completely forgotten, however. "Cry to Me" showed up on soul compilations, such as Rhinos great Soul Shots series, and British soul fans, bless them, included her in their pantheon of deep soul greats.
When Harris heard that people remembered her, she decided to start singing professionally again. Jon Tiven, whose production credits include Little Miltons final release, Think of Me, took the helm for Ms. Harriss first recording in 38 years. Intuition opens with a fierce rocker, "Is It Hot in Here?" Harris grabs the song and shakes it hard. Her voice is gritty, but its still supple and she sings confidently. Freddie Scott, another singer who never got his due, joins her on "Since You Brought Your Sweet Love" and together they deliver a master class in soul singing.
Tiven wrote or co-wrote most of the tunes on Intuition, and its to Harriss credit that shes able to sell even the songs that dont quite get off the ground. Tiven should have taken the spare recordings of the classic soul era as a guide and given Harris more space -- theres often too much going on, most of it extraneous guitar soloing. In the end, Harris makes Intuition work, but next time around Tiven should give her a few more good songs and get out of her way.
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