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BETTY


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Eccentric pop/rock

Status:

Most recent release, Filthy Lucre (soundscape, 2015)

See also:

The Betty Home Page

Comparisons:

The Roches (attenuated, but closest I can think of). (mapravat@prairienet.org)

Covers/own material:

Principally own, a few quasi-covers

General comments:

The music styles are somewhat eclectic, ranging from a cappella to overdone brass accompaniment. Some of the lyrics have a certain off-center sensibility that is marginally reminiscent of The Roches; others harken back to the girl group genre of the early Sixties. In the end, you may or may not find this album appealing; but in the aggregate, I think it's worth listening to, at least to determine which side of the fence you're on. (mapravat@prairienet.org)

Recommended first album:

Hello Betty! (mapravat@prairienet.org)

Recordings:

  • Hello Betty! (1991)
  • Limboland (1996)
  • Betty 3 (1999)
  • Carnival (2000)
  • Betty Rules: Original Cast Recording (2003)
  • Snowbiz (2004)
  • Bright & Dark (2009)
  • Rise (ep, 2013)
  • Nobody Rides For Free (single, 2015)
  • Filthy Lucre (soundscape, 2015)

Hello Betty!

Release info:

1991—The Man From B.E.T.T.Y. (U.S.)—705 1 2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Conditionally recommended

Group members:

Amy Ziff—vocals/cello/keyboard/ssnakesophone [sic]
Bitzi Ziff—vocals/keyboard/tambourine/digital sampler
Alyson Palmer—vocals/electric bass/drum machines
Mike Thorne—synclavier
The Uptown Horns

Comments:

Some may term this album an acquired taste, and they're probably right. Be that as it may, it's interestingly different any way you cut it. It often sounds like the cast album for a stage revue; it does, undoubtedly, closely parallel the usual content of their stage act. Reportedly, the latter is quite shtick-laden, and this comes through on the recording. To a great degree (particularly on side 1), it seems like a concept album on the general theme of relationships. Most of the material is quite original :-), but they do throw in semi-covers of such disparate items as Barbara Streisand's "People," the theme from Petticoat Junction, and Patti Page's "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?," as well as a rip-off of the plot of "Little Red Riding Hood." (mapravat@prairienet.org)

"DC Dog" is a tribute to Jane Siberry's Bound By The Beauty, with some direct nods to Jane in the song and the albums credits. The album is probably my favorite cabaret pop album ever, but that might come from seeing Betty regularly for years. Largely a cappella, but with some clever vocal arrangements. A very fun album, (unfortunately) far superior to their later efforts. (Neal)


Limboland

Release info:

1996—BETTYRules Music/BMI—ECD9175

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Alyson Palmer—vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, drum programming
Amy Ziff—vocals, cello, keyboard
Elizabeth Ziff—vocals, keyboards, programming

Guest artists:

Tony Salvatore—guitars
Daniel Sadownick—bongos, congas, egg
Hook Herrera—harmonica
Catherine Bent—cello
Dave Liles—drums
Miguel Lopez—looping
Ron Decesare—additional snare

Produced by:

BETTY

Comments:

This album is fun. It has 11 new songs (one a cappella), 2 covers, a remix of the title track, and a multimedia component that has videos and interviews and other stuff. I like their harmonies a lot. It's not terribly deep stuff, but it's not quite fluff either. Happy, poppy, feel-good, danceable music. Intelligent ear candy. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I wasn't particularly enthusiastic about Limoboland, though it had a few nice songs on it. Too slick and poppy sounding, and none of the cabaret charm of the old Betty. (neal)


Betty 3

Release info:

1999

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Alyson Palmer—bass, vocals
Amy Ziff—cello
Elizabeth Ziff—guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Tony Salvatore—acoustic guitar
Keith Carlock—percussion, drums
Ian Cook—multi instruments
Allison Cornell—violin, viola
Allison Miller—drums

Produced by:

BETTY, Dave Cook

Comments:

The Betty album is quite different from all their previous work. It's not a step back toward their cabaret style, but a move toward heavy guitar rock! Their trademark harmonies and humor is intact, but the music is quite a bit different with lots of distorted, electric guitar. And a terrific ditty called "Naughty Nadia" featuring voice and cello. It took me a bit to get used to the jarring change of musical style, but it has grown on me quite a bit. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Further info:

Official BETTY fan club, Box 339, Cooper Station, NY, NY 10276-0339, U.S.A.

"A Typical Love" is on the soundtrack for the film The Adventures of Two Girls in Love.


Thanks to Barbara Hart, Mitch Pravatiner, and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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