Bettye LaVette "Some of Her Best Songs: 1962-2003" – A great collection of a killer soul sister. Songs come from the '60s and '70s mainly with a couple more recent tracks. They range from tough funky sassy soul to beautiful soul ballads. Bettye's voice is really what makes this great. Smoky, sexy, and very tough and sassy at times. You can really hear her emotion in all the songs. The music is great with solid rhythm sections and great horns. You'll hear some orchestrated strings and some fine blues guitar too. Check out one of the greatest soul singers you probably have never heard of. She's amazing. Similar to other greats like Laura Lee, Bettye Swann, Candi Staton, Ruby Johnson, etc. One thing to look out for – some of the recordings were clearly not from the masters and have bad sound quality, these are noted. FCC clean.
My Picks: 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 21
Katie P. 9/8/05
1)Midtempo and creeping. Tough and sassy vocals with male backups. A little doo-wop feel to it. Hot!
2)Starts with witches laughing, etc. Midtempo fun bluesy romp. Great horns and nice guitar along with weird bubbling noises in the background. Again tough female vocals.
3)Starts quiet and slow with staccato hits. Great smoky vocals and then the sweet soul strings come in. Wow! Nice blues style guitar and the emotion in her voice is so real and raw.
4)Fast midtempo and fun. Bouncy big band soul.
5)Tough soul walk. Faster midtempo. Ooo, nice horn hits too. Great lyrics too - “Stand up like a man and don't let your courage die!”
6)Slower piano soul ballad. Great smoky sexy vocals.
7)Slower midtempo with tinny sounding drums. Recording seems weird on this one. Vocals are a bit overblown as are most of the other instruments and that kind of detracts from the song.
8)Bouncy soul with a big band feel. Fun and tough vocals. Again the recording quality isn't great on this. Gets oddly quiet in the last minute like it's fading out for a full minute.
9)Big band funky soul. Midtempo and laid back. Smoky sexy vocals.
10)Laid back groover. Seriously sexy vocals. Damn!! This is my favorite song of hers and it is a KILLER! Nice horn hits and a great grooving rhythm section.
11)Bouncy faster midtempo. Nice tough vocals with a catchy chorus section. Fun with a bit of a gospel feel.
12)Tough and sassy funky soul. Nice horns and a solid rhythm section. She is angry!
13)Slower and laid back at the beginning. Pretty straight cover, but maybe with a bit more funk and soul.
14)Funky and tough. Faster midtempo with a driving beat and nice horns. Tough and raw vocals. And yes, cowbell.
15)Slower piano with soulful horns. Nice laid-back duet with Bettye and Hank Ballard. Happy and cute song.
16)Faster midtempo soul number. Nice full horn section and solid groovin' rhythm. Cute female backup vocals. Song about cheating and/or fooling around on the sly.
17)Fun country sounding slide guitar. Solid midtempo walk. Cool and funky with some tough vocals.
18)Quiet and slower midtempo. Delicate flute and piano. Laid back and cute. A little smoothed out. Gets funkier at the chorus.
19)Slow and quiet piano. Smoky vocals with some lowdown blues guitar. This was a big hit in the UK during their northern soul movement. Full orchestrated strings once the song gets going along with female backup vocals.
20)Faster midtempo with a funky beat and wah-wah guitar. Tough vocals and nice horn hits. You can notice the production is getting slicker.
21)Slow soul ballad. Quiet simple piano with her vocals up front to start. Song builds at times with orchestration. Sad and full of emotion.
22)Laid-back midtempo and for some reason quieter than other songs. Full orchestration and horns. Almost has a motown feel.
23)Starts with full horns and hand claps. A bouncy fast midtempo beat. Lyrics are kind of funny.
24)Smoothed out guitar. Midtempo. Builds and gets a little tougher for the chorus. Horns and backup vocals. Very slick production on this.
25)Slow midtempo. Heavy bass and very smoothed out. Reminds me a little more of “modern soul” rather than the '60s/'70s sound. Her voice is still great and the strings definitely add something nice.