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for Fri., March 1
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  • Music

    Mardi Gras weekend w/ Betty Harris, Tomar & the FCs

    Betty Harris kicks off Mardi Gras with an encore performance of last year’s two-night stand at Antone’s. Nicknamed the Lost Queen of New Orleans Soul and associated with late producer-pianist Allen Toussaint, you’d be forgiven for thinking the 80-year-old diva hails from the Big Easy.: “Oh, no,” she clarified by phone from her home in Connecticut last year. “I was in New Orleans about a month, but that’s the longest I’ve ever been there.”: Harris grew up in Florida and Alabama surrounded by music, her father promoting gospel artists including Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Dixie Hummingbirds, and Caravans. She considers herself most fortunate to have spent a good amount of time around Tharpe, “who was actually playing rock & roll but nobody knew it!” Another giant of the genre mentored Harris after she moved to NYC in the early Sixties.: “I had such a huge set of lungs that I really didn’t know where I belonged until I met Big Maybelle,” she said. “I went to her when she was playing the Apollo and she helped me find my own style, my own voice, my own sound.”: Harris cracked the R&B Top 10 in 1963 with a syrupy slow take on Solomon Burke’s “Cry to Me.” The second half of the decade found her jetting to New Orleans for sessions with Toussaint and a rhythm section that soon became the Meters. The sessions proved tumultuous but the results – searing ballads (“Nearer to You”) and furious funk (“There’s a Break in the Road”) – remain thrilling to this day.: “Allen was young, I was young. We clashed some, but I had a definite respect for his work. There was some childish stuff, but along with the Meters, we came out with some gorgeous songs.”
    Fri., March 1, 9pm
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