. . . Friday January 23, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, Bettye LaVette

Few folks in D.C. or watching on HBO had ever heard of Bettye LaVette before she performed opposite Jon Bon Jovi on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. That’s because her supposed breakthrough album was never released. The 1972 collection sat in a vault for about thirty years.

In recent years, LaVette has finally started to get some of the recognition she has deserved for so long. As unlikely as it seemed that Barack Obama would be president, it was probably less likely, a decade ago, that this virtually unknown lady – who a few years ago was playing Detroit bars for fifty bucks a night – would absolutely steal the show in front of hundreds of thousands of people during an inauguration weekend.

Check it out.

A few months ago, LaVette performed a version of Love, Reign o’er Me at the Kennedy Center with Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend looking on.

Of course, any story this cool had to be on Terry Gross, and this one is no exception.

Concentration is important!