Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Incomparable Bettye Lavette



Bettye Lavette's career can be summed up as the comeback story that never should have been. She had some hits in the 60's, including the classic "Let Me Down Easy."



She was never supported by Atlantic Records, a label that twice picked her up and only released singles, but never full albums she recorded in the 60s and 70s. Bettye recorded sporadically over the years, but never gave up on performing until finally, much of this material appeared on Souvenirs, in 2000 release on a French label. Since you can only get a used import from amazon.com for $60, you might as well download that album right here:

Souvenirs by Bettye Lavette (Rapidshare link)

The release of this compilation led to a career resurgence for Bettye where she recorded three albums this decade. This culminated in the critically acclaimed album The Scene of the Crime in 2007, which she made with the Drive-By Truckers and Spooner Oldham backing her up.

Here is Bettye on Austin City Limits singing a track from The Scene of the Crime, a cover of Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Talking Old Soldiers," followed by an mp3 of the album track.




Bettye Lavette - "Talking Old Soldiers"

A couple more excellent recent covers:

Bettye Lavette - "Streets of Philadelphia" (from the compilation Song of America)

Bettye Lavette - "Heart of Gold" (Neil Young cover - Live at Joe's Pub)

In recent months, Bettye has been all over the television, performing at the Kennedy Center Honors, Barack Obama's Inaugural Concert, and The Tonight Show. Sadly though, these performances involved singing for Barbara Streisand, singing with Jon Bon Jovi, and singing on a show hosted by Jay Leno. You can't have it all folks.

Although there is one more amazing performance from that Kennedy Center Honors show that I have to include here as Bettye sang The Who's "Love Reign O'er Me" for Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey.




Buy Bettye Lavette's The Scene of the Crime at amazon.com

Download tracks from Song of America on emusic.com

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