LIVE: Bettye LaVette @ Club Helsinki, 1/11/14

Bettye LaVette

Review and photograph by Tim Livingston

Stunning, beguiling, sexy, raw, emotional, gritty, smooth, transforming, independent, uplifting. original, gracious, dignified, powerful, stirring, heartfelt, down-to-earth, upbeat, soulful, bluesy, uncompromising, full of youthful exuberance, wise and witty…

Just a few of the words that come to mind while experiencing the terrific Bettye LaVette in concert recently at Club Helsinki in Hudson. You may have heard her story – under-appreciated during the early days of ’60s soul, but having a major resurgence in the second half of her life/career, due in part to some smart musical choices, an epic Kennedy Honors performance honoring the Who and singing at President Obama’s inauguration.

Post continues below...
Advertisement

Drawing from the songbooks of such writers as George Harrison, Neil Young, Bob Seger (yes, she actually made me like the song “Like A Rock”), Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan and Pete Townshend, Bettye transforms these works into her own triumphs, at times even exceeding the originals with her inspired, soulful interpretations.

She had the crowd at Helsinki simply mesmerized from her “star-time” entrance, with her voice booming from off-stage before entering the room, until the final notes of her closer, a stirring a cappella take on Sinead O’Connor’s “I Do Not Want What I Have Not Got.”

Truly amazing and one of those legendary performers that needs to be added to your must-see bucket list.

SECOND OPINIONS:
Paul Rapp’s review at Metroland
Seth Rogovoy’s review and photos at the Rogovoy Report

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “LIVE: Bettye LaVette @ Club Helsinki, 1/11/14”

  1. Bryan James says:

    I’ve seen Bettye LaVette several times in London, where’s she’s something of a cult figure and you bump into people you remember from the previous year. She never fails to amaze and to the adjectives you apply to her in your excellent review I would add angry, and who can blame her, she’s still the Cinderella soul (or R&B) singer waiting to live in the palace where many of her contemporaries reside, most of whom she is at least equal to. Some, I would argue, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, to name just two, are living off past glories. Bettye LaVette is still fresh and current with new regular albums that show she is still growing as a performer and singer.

    If there were any justice she would be living on Easy Street by now, or at east around the block – let’s hope it happens soon while she has time to enjoy it.

Cartoonist John CaldwellHolly & EvanCaffe LenaAdvertise on Nippertown!Albany PoetsLeave Regular Radio BehindThe LindaHudson SoundsBerkshire On StageKeep Albany BoringArtist Charles HaymesThistle Hill Weavers