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REQUIRED LISTENING: a musician's personal notes about favorite artists.

I've Got My Own Hell to Raise.
Bettye LaVette has traveled a LONG road to get to this point. A Forgotten Voice in soul music history, Bettye LaVette is definitely trying to make up for lost time. In fact, it's a damn shame to be deprived of this raspy, emotive voice (on par with ANYONE's) ...for so long.

Bettye's first reaction to covering female singers was very negative and it's a good thing she overcame. Songwriters covered include: Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams, Sinead O'Conner, Aimee Mann, Joan Armatrading and Dolly Parton. What Bettye does with Parton's "Little Sparrow" dispenses any preconceived notion in my head. Bettye LaVette turns the song into something freakin' nasty. "Sleep to Dream," "Joy," and "How Am I Different?" are like everything else on this CD: great songs taken to another level by an awesome voice.

Produced by Joe Henry (a man I've grown to respect for his efforts to create a career resurgence for Solomon Burke), I've Got My Own Hell to Raise is a soul classic in modern day guise. This CD is an excellent starting point to delve into the past of an incredible singer.

posted: December 2005.


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