Betty Padgett Betty Padgett

Miami and Jamaica have long been musically connected. The island soaked up the radio waves emanating from the peninsula, opening up a new market for Southern soul and even country music. Though you don't have to go far in reggae to unearth considerable American influence, the reverse is less often the case. That's why this reissue of an unknown album by obscure singer Betty Padgett represents a missing link. Half of the tunes on this 1976 set are reggae — contemporary reggae at that. The album was mostly recorded in a single night at Miami's famed Criteria sound studios. Though it sounds like the studio's B team on this session, covers of soul chestnuts like "My Eyes Adore You" utilize then hot Jamaican rhythms to great effect. This wasn't an imitation of some far off exotic groove, this was a conscious effort to tap into the ruling riddims of music with which the producers and band were no doubt very familiar. The rest of this disc is solid, if unspectacular, soul on the cusp of disco, which was Criteria's stock in trade. (Ubiquity)