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BETTY – Handful

A quartet from California, Betty are prime exponents of biker rock, with songs about women and bikes, all coated in lashings of organ and fuzz guitar. ‘Boogie With You’ gets things off to a good start, and really the title tells you everything you need to know about the song. ‘Blind With Shame’ is actually quite a soulful song, with the band locking into a loping Stax groove, and ‘Just For Fun’ has a lengthy guitar solo that is remarkably restrained but ends up all the better for it. ‘High Rollin’ On The Freeway’ is another boogie rocker on their favourite subject, and ‘River Bummin’’ brings bar-room piano to the mix. ‘Handful (Of Love)’ is a riffing hard rocker, and is a welcome relief from the boogie, as well as giving the guitarist a chance to deliver a good solo. ‘Thank You’ has some good organ work which fleshes out the song, and the vocals are improved by not being shouted over the backing. A great wah wah guitar solo completes the song, making it one of the highlights on here. More organ on ‘Learn How To Boogie’, although this time they are back to their chosen genre, and so for me it is less successful. ‘Harley Perdoo’ ups the ante with an organ led rocker, and the echo-laden wah wah guitar solo is definitely the best to appear on the album, and so is another contender for best track. Rather strangely, they choose to end the album with their sole ballad ‘Light’s Gonna Shine’, going out with a whimper rather than a bang, when they could have ended on a high with almost any other song. When it came out in 1971 this probably sounded great, but boogie rock seems to have dated quite badly, with hardly any new bands choosing the genre, and as it is also one of my least favourite styles of music I have to admit that despite the few gems on here the album as a whole failed to impress. If you like your rock boogified, however, then you will love it.

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