Music » Music Stories & Interviews

Miami rhapsody



North Cali label Ubiquity Records has long been a next-level pacesetter in groove and rhythm genres. But Luv N' Haight — Ubiquity's reissue branch — is showing maximum hot- buttered style with its latest release.

After seeing Betty Padgett perform at the Fort Lauderdale Elks Lodge in 1974, soul luminary Milton Wright approached the 21-year-old songbird and, within a month, they were writing and arranging together. Recorded in one night at Miami's Criteria Studios, Padgett's debut LP was released in 1975.

At the album's core is a rich soul sound born before R&B lost its compass. But specificity of context is what gives this record even greater distinction and depth. Reflecting the eclecticism of the mid-'70s Miami soul scene, it mingles tropical breezes and reggae patterns with lush disco throbs and deep funk grooves. The result is the kind of distilled action that cultured new-school practitioners reach for. It's a quality that makes the collection sound timeless, even modern.

"It Would Be a Shame" is pure, smooth bedroom soul. "Tonight Is the Night" lends a soft reggae gait to the kind of sweet soul that Sam Cooke perfected, while the vital bob of "Never, Never, Never" comes straight out of Kingston. "Gypsy of Love" strokes a sweeping, island-kissed R&B velvet that foreshadowed Sade by nearly a decade. But none are as classic as the two-part single, "Sugar Daddy," which earned regional fame in a Pepsi commercial. Moved by a tight, minimal disco-funk groove and punctuated by body-moving horn blasts, the shining melody coaxes out the playful sensuality of Padgett's lissome voice.

This album is a vibrant snapshot of the often forgotten soul and funk scene of South Florida in the '70s. After being unearthed by Shane Hunt (DJ Sureshot) from a dusty back room in an L.A. record store, it's finally getting a national release nearly a quarter-century later, thereby securing the crate-digging Sureshot's spot in heaven.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.