February 24, 2012

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Bettye Lavette - Soul Singer extraordinaire.


Ending up the week on a high, soulful and moody note.

Bettye Lavette has been going at it since she was 16. In the five decades since, she's hit highs, lows and a lot of neglect in between. Primarily a singles artist, she didn't get her first album released until 1982, which would actually be her second as a first album was recorded by Atlantic in 1972 and shelved until 1997. Between that time there was a lot of bouncing around from label to label and a lot of almost's-but-not-quite's. Same old story - great material, incredible voice but something didn't click. But rather than pack it up and call it day, she persevered and it finally has paid off. In fact, she has released a new album which you are urged to check out. I think it's safe to say she's finally getting the recognition that has eluded her for so long, judging by the positive press she's been getting lately.

But tonight it's a classic she originally recorded for the Cala label. This one, Let Me Down Easy, is a gut-wrenching, brooding masterpiece that did very well on the charts (hitting #20 for R&B) and holds its own even to this day. It's become something of a signature song for her and she's re-recorded it a few times since. But this is the first one.

Like I said, ending the week on a high note.

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