Bettye Crutcher was not the first female song writer at Stax – Carla Thomas and Deanie Parker, for example, beat her to that particular punch – but she may well be the most commercially successful of all the Memphis label’s female tunesmiths, if only for her participation in the composition of Johnnie Taylor’s ‘Who’s Making Love’, one of the company’s biggest hits. Bettye’s “Long As You Love Me” album is one of the best-kept secrets in the entire Stax catalogue. From the late 70s and throughout the 80s, the album was seldom seen or talked about outside of a small circle of knowledgeable record collectors but, with the arrival of hip hop at the tail end of the 80s, the record began to be revisited and plundered by enterprising DJs and producers looking for segments to sample. In addition to the album’s original 10 tracks, our CD includes six unissued sides from a slightly earlier period, all of which show that Bettye could have been a serious contender as an artist if she’d had time to juggle her careers as a songwriter and a mother in order to push herself a little harder as a performer.
By Tony Rounce