If you don't know singer Bettye LaVette, you're a sad bastard.
The velvet texture of her voice coupled with its raw force and emotion brought tears to Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend's eyes at the Kennedy Center honors a few years back.Her newly released memoir is a fantastic read; the prose is alarmingly frank and loaded with drama as Bettye recounts her pregnancy at age 14, married at age 15, with a hit record at age 16, then her steady fall into obscurity, Her book "A Woman Like Me," takes us on her encounters with legends like Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and many others.
The Detroit native's talent never waned, as Ms. LaVette, now in her 60s, is full circle in her career and never better. Along with the book she has a new CD, "Thankful N' Thoughtful," marking what her website calls "the culmination of a lifetime of near-triumphs."
Bettye is starting off the year with two sold-out shows in New York this weekend, beginning Friday night at City Winery and Saturday night at Joe’s Pub (Jan. 11, 12). Last year saw Bettye release a new album, Thankful N’ Thoughtful (Anti- Records), as well as a riveting autobiography, A Woman Like Me (Blue Rider Press/Penguin), co written with David Ritz to national critical acclaim.
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