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VINE VOICEon 6 October 2007
Bettye Lavette's excellent "I've Got My own Hell To Raise" showed how a solid, sympathetic backing band could showcase her superb phrasing and kickass vocals. For her follow up her record label asked loud, raucous and exuberant Alabama rockers - the Drive-by Truckers to provide the backing. They took Ms Lavette back to Muscle Shoals Alabama, where her lost classic 1970s album was cut for Atlantic Records and then shelved, hence the title.

The Truckers Patterson Hood and their cohort David Barbe take the production duties as Muscle Shoals sessioneers Spooner Oldham and David Hood (Patterson's father) join the Truckers to add further layers of meaning to the sessions. The Truckers sound nothing like the Truckers, they sound like a great R & B backing band. This is Ms Lavette's album and they kepp in the background bringing her gritty, emotive voice to the fore and filling in the spaces.

It is an album full of great interpretations of songs but the one original song, the autobiographic "Before the Money Came (The Battle of Bettye LaVette)" is a highlight. What an achievement!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 April 2008
There's one thing lets this record down.

It's not Lavette herself: She has the quintessential R'n'B voice and knows how to use it.

It's not musicianship: The undercover Drive By Truckers are magnificent, and the drop-ins like Spooner Oldham and David Hood give the project some added kudos, too.

It's the songs: You have the lyrical muscle of DBT, including the Dirtroad Dylan himself, Mike Cooley, and the best song on the whole album is written by Elton John, who I'm afraid lost me shortly after Tumbleweed Connection.

Despite that it's a good record, but it most definitely ain't a great record.

You can feel it's good from the start as the guitars kick in with an irresistible riff and some addictive hooks, and then you feel the emotional pull of Lavette's gravel-honed tonsils. On that score she would give Cooley more than a run for his money. The guitars of DBT are well complemented by Oldham's keyboards, and on several tracks include John Neff's pedal steel which gives an interesting country flavour to a definitely not-country record: DBT truly are undercover stylistically but demonstrate their R'n'B chops to the max.

But as I say, the songs themselves are disappointing overall lyrically, there is little by way of a memorable tune, and my overall feeling is that it's pretty well a dead cert that I wouldn't have bought the record had it not been for the presence of DBT.

Honestly. I've listened a dozen times at least, and can't get excited, and I'm being generous with four stars.

Is that another crime?
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on 30 October 2013
An excellent Album full of brilliant covers, done in Her own Bluesy way, and with very good backing tracks. I've knocked off one Star for Recording 'Purple Rain', it's just one of those songs that NOBODY should cover.
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on 14 August 2016
I bought this CD out of interest, being a big fan of DBT. The album was recorded at the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals in 2007, 35 years after Bettye LaVette recorded her first album there (hence the title). This is a well produced album with Bettye's soulful interpretations of songs by Eddie Hinton, Frankie Miller, Willie Nelson, John Hiatt and Elton John/Bernie Taupin plus one song written by Ms LaVette and Patterson Hood (Before The Money Came). It would have been good to hear a few more original songs but overall this is an excellent album with very tight backing from among others DBT, Spooner Oldham and David Hood, father of Patterson and a member of The Swampers. Stand out tracks for me were Jealousy, The Last Time and Talking Old Soldiers.
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on 7 January 2008
I first read about this album on the Drive By Truckers site when they covered their forthcoming projects. I thought I would get it even though I had not heard of Bettye before. What a fantastic suprise! A real pleasure from beginning to end with, to me, the stand out track being her interpretation of Elton John's Talking Old Soldiers. Great sleeve notes from Patterson Hood giving a picture of a diva with attitude and soul. As you would expect great backing from the DBT band with added musicians who dropped in when they found out she was recording back in Muscle Shoals including Spooner Oldham.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 November 2014
Bettye Lavette has long been one of those classic artists that I have heard a lot about but never heard anything by so it was nice to get a listen to this CD to find out what all the fuss is about. It turns out that Bettye sounds like a cross between Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin and sings soul and blues songs with the most expressive of voices.

'The Scene of the Crime' is an unusual album in the respect that all of the songs here are re-vamped covers of songs written by classic artists like Bob Dylan and Elton John (to name but two). Bettye performs all of the songs with that certain 'gut wrenching' soul style so popular in the 60's and 70's and that kind of makes these songs her own - especially if like me you are unaware of any of the originals. Musically, the backings are more R&B than hardcore blues but touches of Country music are seen on some tracks. As most other reviewers here have already stated, while all the songs here were written by classic artists not all of them are classic standard songs and so lyrically this album is not quite as essential as it could have been. This said, 'The Scene of the Crime' is a good, competent set that works well as an album and does not overstay its welcome and in today's world of 'filling up a CD because you can' that's no bad thing.
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VINE VOICEon 16 November 2009
This is an excellent album of modern Southern Soul. I saw Betteye at Cambridge around the time of its release. Unfortunately she wasn't backed by the Drive by truckers then but she did a storming set and this album is also in that category.

It was clearly a labour of love for Patterson Hood whose sleevenotes set the scene perfectly. Apparently he was keen to write some songs with Betteye who promptly not only informed him she was an interpreter not a writer, but also rejected all fifty of the numbers he had shortlisted for inclusion. It would be good to know what they were, certainly there is no suggestion of taking an easy route by choosing old chestnuts. Instead you get the chance to listen to Betteye and the boys-Spooner Oldham and Patterson's dad David among them-perhaps no surprise that there is a strong Memphis feel to this. The DBTs are reminiscent of the Hi groove with Teeny Hodges etc. but crossed with a gutsy Stax feel-I love Eddie Hinton's "I still want to be your baby" and "You don't know me at all"-apparently by Don Henley!-the Elton John track is the weakest for me-not embarrasingly so-but not up there with the others.The track Hood did persuade Betteye to collaberate on is stronger on biography than musical quality but like all concerned it has a huge personality-I could say the same about quite a few DBT tracks-somehow their honest feel carries even their relatively weak tracks.

If you are looking at this because of the Drive by Truckers then expect to be converted from Southern rock to Southern Soul-clearly not far from Patterson's heart-and buy it anyway.
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on 27 February 2015
Excellent, the band really moves along with the superb Bettye Lavette
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on 5 June 2016
good
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