Atlanta blues singer
Sweet Betty bio & stories:
( Text from Music Maker website www.musicmaker.org )
Born in Duluth, GA, just northeast of Atlanta, Betty Echols Journey grew up listening to gospel music. Her mother’s singing in church was a key influence on her.
Aspiring to become a singer herself, Betty began singing at parties at her friends’ homes. In the mid 1980’s, she was introduced to legendary saxophonist, Grady “Fats” Jackson. Jackson was so impressed with Betty’s vocals that he began bringing her with him to his performances. It was through Jackson that Betty met former Muddy Waters guitarist, “Steady Rollin” Bob Margolin. Margolin and his band, upon passing through out the southern region of the United States in the early 1990’s would regularly perform with Jackson and Betty in such places as Jackson Station nightclub in Hodges, South Carolina and Blind Willie’s or Blues Harbor in Atlanta, GA.
In 1993, Jackson and Betty’s music collaboration would land them a cameo appearance in the movie “Simple Twist of Fate”, starring Steve Martin.
Upon the untimely death of Jackson on January 17, 1994, the future of Betty’s singing career appeared uncertain until Margolin invited her to sing on his 1997 release “Up and In”. You can hear Betty’s vocal work on the laid-back sax driven Grady “Fats” Jackson tune, “Coffee Break.”
Betty’s popularity continues to grow as evidenced by her demand from European audiences. Her resume includes past performances in Greece, Italy, France, and Switzerland. Closer to home, you can often find Betty performing with The Shadows at Blind Willie's or with long time Georgia musicians and friends, Albert White and Roy Lee Johnson, both former guitarists with the legendary Atlanta blues pianist, Piano Red.
" One if the best moments in a musicians life, the kind that makes up for a lot of heartbreak and disappointment, is when something surprises and blows away the audience, making them not only clap but yell and scream their pleasure. I have one of those moments every time Sweet Betty sits in with me. When she takes the bandstand and sings the first line of whatever song she chooses, there is an inevitable roar of pleasure from the crowd. And the sound of her voice will make me play my best. I know that feeling, it's the same one I got being on a bandstand with singers like Muddy Waters or Etta James. Sweet Betty shares their gift." - Bob Margolin
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