Friday, December 28, 2012

The Soul Corner - Bettye LaVette "Let Me Down Easy"

This week we feature one of our all time favorite soul singers, performing earlier this month. At age 66, Bettye LaVette still runs circles around just about any singer of any genre you can name. Her ability to throw herself into a song, dig deep into the writing and her life, her emotions, is the very essence of soul music.

Her story is a wild one, nearly tragic, but after decades of disappointments, misfires, bad choices,  scoundrels, broken promises and broken dreams, Ms. LaVette never quit performing and recently finally found some measure of success. Her remarkable story is told in an unflinching manner in her new autobiography A Woman Like Me, which I highly recommend.

"Let Me Down Easy" was released in 1965 as Bettye's second single and charted at #20 on the R&B charts. But there was no follow up and so the song, like LaVette herself, faded until her resurgence in the last 10 years. It is now a cornerstone of her live performances, a monster, as seen here in London a few weeks ago:

Here she is singing the song on the Shindig! TV show in 1965:

This will be our final Soul Corner as an every Friday feature, though if we stumble into a great soul song video, we will post as a bonus Soul Corner. We will start a new feature every Friday in 2013, so continue to look for some choice old nuggets right here each week.

1 comment:

Edoc said...

Nice post. Bettye has enjoyed a well-deserved career resurgence over the past few years.

Somewhat related, here's one from another Mussel Shoals veteran, Candi Staton: