Friday, July 13, 2012

The Soul Corner - Bettye LaVette "You Don't Know Me At All'

I had the great pleasure of seeing Bettye LaVette at the Portland Bluesfest last Saturday. It was a gorgeous hot day on the downtown Portland riverfront. Bettye, playing while the sun was beating down on the stage at the hottest point of the day, thanked people for coming and said "I wouldn't stand out there in this heat to see Jesus walk on the water."
And while Bettye didn't quite walk across the Willamette River, she did remind me why she's my favorite living soul singer. She can belt out the rough soul rockers and then bring every last ounce of sympathy out of a ballad. And Bettye's stage presence is brassy, funny and utterly candid. If you run into at her and end up chatting her up, ask her about a night out drinking with Lucinda Williams.

This song, co-written and originally recorded by Don Henley, was performed at a similar summer festival and gives you a great flavor for both LaVette's attitude and performance chops:

And speaking of Lucinda, here's Bettye doing "Joy":

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