Bettye LaVette: Worthy | Album Review

Fri, Jan 30, 2015, 00:00



Bettye LaVette

Cherry Red Records

R&B / Soul

A valid rival to Aretha Franklin as the best woman soul singer of the past 50 years, born Betty Jo Haskins in Michigan, Detroit, 69 years ago, is indisputably delivering the kind of music that Franklin stopped bothering with years ago. Worthy is a covers album, but you’d best come back right now, because when Bettye LaVette covers a song she really makes it her own. There are more cases in point on Worthy than you might think; veteran singers covering Bob Dylan and The Beatles are 10-a-penny, but what she does with the former’s Unbelieveable (from 1990’s Under the Red Sky) and the latter’s Wait (from 1965’s Rubber Soul) is a masterclass in re-evaluation and interpretation. Producer Joe Henry only adds to the slow-burning pleasure. “Don’t count me out just yet”, LaVette sings. Wouldn’t dream of it.