Bettye LaVette – The Scene of the Crime

I’m gonna be honest, I’m not really a fan of soul music. I don’t dislike soul music, but when left to my own vices I am never gonna listen to it. Had it not been for The Drive-By Truckers backing Bettye on this album, it would have gone completely ignored by myself. Hell, it almost did anyway, regardless of that fact but I kept seeing it on top 10 list after top 10 list throughout the month of December. Finally, while trying to find a way to spend a gift card I got that didn’t include boobs, booze or deep fried foods I stopped by a record store and bought it.

I haven’t ever heard anything else by Bettye Lavette that I know of, so I’m not gonna sit here and reword the Wiki biography in an effort to look more knowledgeable than I am. Apparently she had a little bit of a career in the 60’s/70’s, experienced something of a comeback with the 2005 release I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise, and has now come out with this most recent effort, The Scene of the Crime. I learned all of that from one of Patterson Hood’s DBT mailing list messages.

I am surprised by the fact that almost this entire album is covers. In fact, all but one of the 10 tracks is a cover. I’d be a liar if I said I recognized all of the songs as covers right away, but a couple that I did recognize immediately were her versions of Willie Nelson’s “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces” and Elton John’s “Talking Old Soldiers”. I am also pretty impressed with how well Lavette’s voice goes with the swampy Southern sound of the Truckers, who probably put in their best musical effort in quite some time as a mere backing band. Sometimes the steel guitar seems a little out of place, but as a whole it works more often than not. In the end, I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this album. I’m not gonna run out and start buying soul comps or anything, but should DBT start playing backing band for old Motown artists looking to make a comeback, I think I’ll at least pay attention to them from now on.

Bettye LaVette – Before the Money Came (Battle of Bettye LaVette)
Bettye LaVette – Take Me Like I Am
Bettye LaVette – Talking Old Soldiers

Bettye LaVette’s Official Site, Bettye LaVette on myspace, Buy The Scene of the Crime

3 thoughts on “Bettye LaVette – The Scene of the Crime”

  1. Well, you really should check out the earlier cd you mentioned: I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise. It has the definite version of Lucinda Williams’ “Joy”

  2. Bettye LaVette will appear on Conan O’Brien on this Wednesday, Jan 16th, CBS. Don’t miss this great singer/performer.

  3. Pingback: 70's music

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