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on 31 October 2005
Bettye Lavette is one of those rare breed of soul singers who's been around for years but few people would have much knowledge of - until now that is. At last Bettye has stepped out of the shadows with this magnificent new album of 10 tracks all penned by women. It begins with a low key a’ cappella version of Sinead O'Connor's 'I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got' and keeps building the drama till the final climax of 'Sleep To Dream' which was written by Fiona Apple. Along the way Bettye does amazing versions of 'Down To Zero' & 'How Am I Different' respectively written by Joan Armatrading & Aimee Mann. This is not so much of a regular soul album but an album full of soul as Bettye injects so much raw energy into her performance. This is THE album of the year. Go on - please give your ears a rare treat.
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on 15 December 2005
I first heard about Bettye Lavette only a month ago when I saw her on Later..with Jools Holland. She sang her classic "Let me down easy" and it was the most impassioned vocal performance I have ever seen.
I bought this album on the strength of that performance and was not disappointed.From the haunting opening acappella of Sinead O'Connor's "I do not want what I have not got" to the closing "Sleep to dream" every note, every phrase is expressed with such heartfelt emotion that you can't believe that this Lady isn't more widely recognised as the incredible talent that she is.
The instrumentation leaves room for her voice to weave it's magic on every track -only adding contemporary grooves and vibes occassionally,always complimenting her vocals in a subtle way.
If you have any appreciation of Vintage soul music eg. The Staples singers, Aretha, Tina, then I urge you to buy this c.d. and discover this rare talent.
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on 2 February 2009
I've Got My Own Hell To Raise This is a must have album. If you have not discovered Betty Lavette then do so. A seasoned performer drawing on Blues, R and B, country and rock she is in the same league as Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin and all the greats. Her version of Joan Armatrading's Down to Zero is particularly impressive. And when you recall that this album was released when she was 59 you wonder how she did not come to more people's notice before. Perhaps it is, as she said,that she sounded more like Wilson Pickett than Dionne Warwick that made her harder to market. This album is a tour de force from one of the best performers in the world. Buy it!!
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on 19 January 2006
Bettye is quite simply one the greatest vocalists ever to be committed to vinyl (or disc as it is now!).
She possesses a voice so rich in expression that just aches with soul, that you'd have to be made of stone not to be moved by her.
She's paid her dues and no one is more worthy of greater recognition.
This album isn't typical of much of her work and finds her taking on songs from a variety of writers from a range of styles. No matter, that voice just shines through it all.
Standouts for me are The high road, Just say so and How am I different.
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on 31 January 2013
I saw this lady on "Later with Jools" and was impressed. Checked her out on Wikepedia and she has been around doing quality stuff for years. Her haunting gravelly voice sits well with the funky, bluesy music. She seems to be well respected amongst other singers but never really made the big time with the public. Shame really because she is a class act.
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