Friday, December 30, 2005

Definitely Not Was

A little old skool r'n'b to round out 2005. Ms Bettye LaVette has flown under my radar up to now, but suddenly the critters are all raptuous about this new album, I've Got My Own Hell To Raise (latest eg, cover of Dec Rhythms -- website weird). Comparisons can be made to the Solomon Burke "comeback" album Don't Give Up on Me -- not only is it a soul legend interpreting some of the great modern songwriters but they were both produced by Joe Henry.

Diversion: That Solomon album was fab, but the follow up Make Do With What You've Got lacked alot of the same spark. And why? Why, because instead of the subtle and sensitive Joe Henry it was "produced" (more like reduced) by hack of the century Don Was. Never did that man find a mood he couldn't squash, a theme he couldn't belabour, an album he couldn't totally ruin.

End diversion.

The angle with this album is that Bettye covers songs by female singer-songwriters: Lucinda Williams (Joy), Dolly Parton (Little Sparrow), Aimee Mann, Sinead O'Connor, Joan Armatrading, Roseanne Cash and others. Her voice is pure molten soul gold and the album is funky, rich and sexy as hell.

So you've made a big fan Bettye but for gods sakes whatever you do -- don't return Was' phone calls!!

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