Bettye LaVette: Open To Interpretation


Bettye LaVette i

Soul icon Bettye LaVette recently performed live on WFUV in New York City. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist
Bettye LaVette

Soul icon Bettye LaVette recently performed live on WFUV in New York City.

courtesy of the artist

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Not a lot of soul singers can tap dance well, let alone proficiently enough to perform on Broadway. But Bettye LaVette isn't just any soul singer. She's a soul survivor.

Having recorded her first hit single at 16, it wasn't until 40 years later that LaVette started to receive the accolades she deserves. In the intervening years, she seemed to largely fall through the cracks of the music business. She made a handful of records, gave up recording for a six-year stint in the Broadway musical Bubbling Brown Sugar, and eventually found her way back into the studio. She released the critically acclaimed album I've Got My Own Hell to Raise in 2005.

LaVette created a stir again earlier this year, when she recorded the gutsy new release Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook. It's a re-invention of songs by The Who, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones (among others), and it breathes new life into material that could have seemed calcified. It was a risky move, to be sure, but LaVette believes that songs should be sung and not treated as museum pieces — even if it means changing the words to a well-known tune by Led Zeppelin.

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Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook

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Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook
Bettye Lavette

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