Bettye Lavette Raises the Soul Flag

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Set List

Songs Bettye LaVette performs for 'World Cafe':

  • "The Forest Calls for Pain"
  • "The High Road"
  • "Down to Zero"

With over 40 years of performing, Bettye LaVette has been around the block. She cut her first record for Atlantic at the tender age of 16. She starred in a Broadway show with Cab Calloway and has toured with the likes of Ben E. King, Otis Redding, and James Brown.

Betty LaVette recorded her first hit at 16, with "My Man -- He's a Lovin' Man."

Betty LaVette recorded her first hit at 16, with "My Man -- He's a Lovin' Man." Jim McCarthy photography hide caption

itoggle caption Jim McCarthy photography

Her music has endured the changes of time, from her first song, "My Man — He's a Lovin' Man," recorded at 16, to the 1979 disco hit "Doin' the Best That I Can" and more recent work.

With the recent release of I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, LaVette is once again exploding onto the scene.

A cover album unlike any you have heard, on I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, LaVette takes her turn at songs popularized by a range of singers, from Lucinda Williams to Fiona Apple and Sinead O'Connor. LaVette transforms each track by evoking the intense soul style that first won her fans, with songs like "Let Me Down Easy" and "Your Turn to Cry."

This interview originally aired on January 25, 2006.

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