Bettye LaVette CD review [Anti]

Music Reviews
Bettye LaVette CD review [Anti]
Sep 27, 2005, 04:49

BETTYE LAVETTE I've Got My Own Hell to Raise CD

Bettye LaVette never got strung out on drugs, never got ripped off by her managers, never had to sleep on friends' couches for months between gigs. That's because LaVette always had another gig to play, another record to make. For the past 40 years, she's been performing and recording her searing soul songs whether we were paying attention or not.

That work ethic and commitment to craft is supremely evident on I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, a knowing, emphatic shout-out to some of LaVette's favorite female performers. Here, she borrows from artists as divergent as Dolly Parton, Tina Turner and Aimee Mann and manages complete ownership of each song.

LaVette takes Rosanne Cash's breezy country tune, “On the Surface,” and turns it into a shuffling, blues jam with flourishes of Stax-era funk. On Mann's “How am I Different?” poignancy and pain pours from LaVette's seasoned pipes, but she still manages to come away with her pride intact. 

This record is rooted in 60's and 70's soul, but seems startlingly fresh because unlike most of today's gilded R&B songstresses (do they even have young female soul singers anymore?), LaVette rejects the bling-bling sensibilities and proves she's still the bomb. [Anti]

-Michael Coleman

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