Bettye Lavette, Thankful N' Thoughtful (Anti)

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The Independent Culture

Few singers do anguish as Bettye does it, as if being strangled with plaited anguish. But there it is. Here she is, 50 years into her career, tackling Dylan, Neil Young, Sly Stone, Waits … You get the drift. Everything is broken.

Craig Street has fashioned for her a classy rock-R&B groove orchestra out of very few parts. The sound is gothically cavernous and frames her seized phrasing with tasteful restraint – all the better to set that feeling in high relief.