A celebrated deep soul masterpiece this one. Cut in Alabama in 1974, written, produced and wonderfully arranged by Dan Brantley, Betty Fikes really gives I Can't Lie To My Heart the treatment. And there are lots of other goodies as well, the tasteful horns, a few solo tenor touches, and a sympathetic female chorus from the aptly named Passions. Wonderful music. The midtempo flip is pretty good too.
UPDATE ~ My great friend Greg Burgess writes that Betty Fikes was from Selma, AL. She was the daughter of a gospel singer who migrated to Detroit where Betty spent her early years. Her mother died when she was ten and she returned to Alabama where she was very active in the the Civil Rights Movement. I found an interview with her on the net here. She was also in a group called Freedom Singers and took the lead on several tracks you can find here. Its more gospel folk than soul but its definItely her. She was still living in Selma as recently as 2005.
NEW UPDATE ~ Betty moved to the West Coast in the late 60s/early 70s where she married and took the surname Gouché. She recorded for ZZ Hill's brother Matt under that name in 1971. As ever with his productions both tracks that appeared were pretty southern in their styling, and Betty sounded really good especially on the upbeat "What More Can I Ask For" with its sassy lyric and horn rich arrangment courtesy of the great Miles Grayson.
Addtionally four further Betty Gouché tracks have appeared on your favourite download site, These are from "Crown Records" and are just her and a pianist, which makes them almost impossible to date. Demos possibly. Betty's voice remains a thing of wonder on these tracks but the style of them is more jazzy supper club than R & B. They do however include another cut of "That's Life" the original A side of the Hill 45.
FURTHER UPDATE ~ Gerard Herz has very helpfully written to say that "'Betty Fikes sang the blues "Rock me baby" and others with the Lefty Dizz blues band at the 1979 Mississippi Delta Blues Festival. It was filmed and issued as a VHS". Something else to add to my Wants List! I'm grateful to Gerard for this new info.
I can't lie to my heart / Prove it to me ~ SOUTHBOUND 437 (1974)
As BETTY GOUCHÉ
What more can I ask for / That's life ~ HILL 778 (1971)
Note ~ The four accoustic tracks are titled "We Are Worlds Apart", "That's Life", "Do We Have To Fall In Love" and "You're Gonna Miss Your Chance".
Note ~ You can find the original "What More Can I Ask For" on the Kent UK CD "Masterpieces Of Modern Soul Vol 3" and a slightly different mix of the track on BGP UK "Super Funk's Mission Impossible".