I read her book in two days last week,
“Bettye LaVette – A Woman Like Me”
It’s kind of like reading James Brown’s autobiography in that it’s not really well written, but the stories are amazing all the same.
You get to hear about all the people she knew over the years…Aretha, Solomon Burke, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, and a cast of other knowns, semi-knowns, and completely unknowns, and how she just kept on having “Buzzard Luck“.
Read the book, it won’t take you much time. It’s an interesting perspective from someone involved in a particular history who just didn’t make it until relatively recently.
Her website is full of information on what going on with her these days so keep yourself posted if interested.
I have been listening to her only for the past few years after stumbling across a recent release while shopping at Dusty Groove.
Stand out track on this one for me is her version of Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow”.
This live version may be even better than the LP cut.
Bettye’s version is quite a bit different than Dolly Parton’s, which of course is a classic in itself.
My love of the “I’ve Got my Own Hell To Raise” LP led to the purchase of “Betty LaVette- Do Your Duty” released in 2006 on Sundazed (LP-5208) from recordings made in 1969-1970. Sundazed has a lot going there at their own site, might be too hard to leave once you get there.
The most moving track on “Do Your Duty” for me is “He Made a Woman Out of Me”.
Certainly funky soulful stuff yes?
I missed her original performances in DC, but I was lucky enough to catch her at the newly renovated Howard Theatre on May 18th, 2013 with the Blind Boys of Alabama. Between the two acts, though I am not much of a dancer, I found myself jumping up onto my chair (our group of 6 had fought hard for a table up front), and letting my 6’4″ frame move in ways once thought impossible.
It is possible that the four $20 double rye whiskey’s may have helped.
I cannot wait to see her perform live again.