Album: Bettye LaVette

The Scene of the Crime (Anti-)
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The Independent Culture

Bettye LaVette's "Let Me Down Easy" remains one of Southern Soul's most moving performances, but her career never took off as it should, despite her being the only artist to record for Motown and Atlantic. The latter company never even bothered to release Child of the Seventies, her 1972 set recorded at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, so this return to the same location with latter-day country-funk combo Drive-By Truckers (whose Patterson Hood is the son of Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood) may have brought back a few bad memories. Which is all to the good, LaVette being a singer whose tone profits from ill temper, smouldering here through dark dramas of envy and treachery like Frankie Miller's "Jealousy". Assisted by Spooner Oldham's electric piano, the Truckers are sensitive to her needs, turning Elton's "Talking Old Soldiers" into a wracked piano blues, but never better than when laying down the swamp-funk grooves for John Hiatt's "The Last Time" and Eddie Hinton's "I Still Want to be Your Baby".

Download this: 'I Still Want to be Your Baby', 'The Last Time', 'Jealousy'