“When Sweet Betty sings there is an inevitable roar of pleasure from the crowd!” -Bob Margolin 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.
How We Helped:
Since becoming a Music Maker artist in 2003, Sweet Betty has received sustenance grants for prescription medicine, has recorded her CD Live and Let Live, and has played at the Portsmouth Blues Festival and on the legendary Blues Cruise, along with other venues in the eastern United States. In addition, Betty is featured on several Music Maker and DixieFrog compilation CDs.
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 thought 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. In July and November 2000, she traveled to Europe again and performed with other such noted blues artists as Magic Slim, Kenny Neal and John Primer. Closer to home, you can often find Betty performing with Lil’ Joey’s Jumpin’ Jive or long time Georgia musicians and friends, Roy Lee Johnson and Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, both former guitarists with the legendary Atlanta blues pianist, Piano Red.