Ms Bettye LaVette - The Great Lady of Soul

If you have not heard Ms LaVette sing (and chances are you have not), then you need to. Really. Take a deep breath, prepare to be enthralled, and immerse yourself in the videos below.

Sophisticated. A killer interpretation of "Love Reigns O'er Me" blows Pete Townsend, Roger Daltrey and Barbra Streisand away.
Rocking. "Joy" gets straight to the point, and then hammers it home, just the way rock should.... They took my joy. I want it back!
Raw, powerful, and mesmerising. A searing version of "Little Sparrow". So this is what music is supposed to be like.....
Unplugged. An intimate and intensely personal rendition of "It Don't Come Easy" for an NPR tiny desk concert.
Luscious. "Let Me Down Easy", backed by Jools' and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. Smooth and silky, with a hard centre. Thank you Bettye!

"What next?" you ask. Well, let me tell you! Time to shift focus from individual songs to the narrative arc of a complete performance.

Authoritative. Prepare to be awestruck. This incredible 30-minute concert in the Netherlands places the performances of "Joy" and "Little Sparrow" in context: parts of a greater whole.
All of the above. Experience the heroic sweep of a Bettye LaVette concert at the Bridgestone Music Festival in 2009.

Now go see the real thing!!

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Last modified: 23 February 2015
Author: Mark Wardle (