Betty Wright / The Roots

Betty Wright: The Movie

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Betty Wright: The Movie is this Miami soul legend’s first album since 2001’s Fit for a King, but it’s hardly a return. During Wright’s decade away from making her own records, she was busy helping others -- including Kelly Clarkson, Joss Stone, Diddy, Keyshia Cole, and Lil Wayne -- as a songwriter, arranger, producer, and background vocalist. Here, she links up with the intrepid Roots crew and several supplemental session musicians, and she wrangles complementary appearances from Stone and the tremendously underappreciated Lenny Williams, as well as disruptive interjections from Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg. Most of the songs were either written or co-written by Angelo Morris, who has been collaborating with Wright since the late ‘80s. It’s Wright’s best-sounding album since her self-titled 1981 release for Epic, with her backing band emulating vintage soul one moment and switching it up for more modern (and wholly appropriate) sounds the next. Wright sounds terrific, navigating through the upbeat, attitudinal jams and slower, romantic cuts with finesse and strength.

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