Bettye LaVette Is the Comeback Queen
Bettye LaVette recorded her first hit, "My Man — He's a Lovin' Man," at the age of 16. She toured with Ben E. King, Barbara Lynn and Otis Redding. And now she's being crowned the Comeback Queen for her recent albums, I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, which came out in 2005, and her recent The Scene of the Crime.
LaVette recorded The Scene of the Crime at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., with the Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers and the legendary session musician and songwriter Spooner Oldham. (He played on Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" and Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man.")
Most of the songs on the record are covers of soul classics that LaVette's husband, a record historian, played around the house, but she wrote the song "Before the Money Came (The Battle of Bettye LaVette)" herself at the prompting of Patterson Hood, guitarist and vocalist for the Drive-By Truckers.
The Scene of the Crime isn't the first record LaVette made at FAME studios; a disc she cut there in 1972 was shelved by Atlantic. Those songs didn't see the light of day until the French label Art and Soul released it in 2000. Called Souvenirs, it reinvigorated LaVette's career and led to her signing with Anti Records in 2003.
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