Friday, December 7, 2012

Bettye LaVette is the new Blues Queen - Thankful N' Thoughtful Album Review

Bettye LaVette

Bettye LaVette career has been full of ups and downs. This album “Thankful N’ Thoughtful” is one of those ups! Not since the Queen of Blues, Koko Taylor has a woman sang songs so convincingly that you would swear they wrote every lyric.

Bettye may not have the name recognition of her fellow Detroit counterparts (Diana Ross, Martha Reeves, or Mary Wells) but she definitely has the talent. What she does have on those women is that at 66 she has only improved with time.

After one listen to “Thankful N’ Thoughtful” you’ll see that Bettye was never meant to be a Pop (in the form of Motown) star. She’s a soulful blues singer. Where she gets emotion out of every lyric and syllable she sings. Nothing on this album was done to make the song pretty. She’s simply telling you stories of her life.

You get the full extent of her abilities to tell a story with a song on “Dirty Old Town”. Not since Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” has a song been able to draw you so far into the story that you can smell the scent they describe to you.

Another outstanding track is “Crazy” written by and originally performed by CeeLo Green. I won’t say that she takes this song from CeeLo but she definitely is a co-owner of the song. Everything is working on this track. The production is amazing, the band is groovin’ and Bettye nails it! I don’t know what is better the drummer; JJ Johnson, Glenn Patscha; on the keys or Bettye LaVette who sounds like she’s telling you part of her life story.

Ladies and Gentlemen: please welcome the living Queen of the Blues. Following in the footsteps of Blues Queens; Bessie Smith, Dinah Washington and Koko Taylor.

The entire album is great but here are the standout tracks:
Everything Is Broken written by Bob Dylan (Killer guitars provided by Chris Bruce and Jonathan Wilson)
I’m Not the One
Dirty Old Town
Crazy – written by and originally performed by CeeLo Green
Time Will Do the Talking

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