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I've Got My Own Hell to Raise


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Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Audio CD, September 27, 2005
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I'm Not the One from "Thankful n' Thoughtful"

Biography

This is the moment—the record, the book, the culmination of a lifetime of near-triumphs. This is Bettye LaVette’s triumphant year, her 50th in show business.
“Miss LaVette now rivals Aretha Franklin as this generation’s most vital soul singer,” proclaims the New York Times.
“With a voice as powerful as Etta James and a story as compelling as Tina ... Read more in Amazon's Bettye LaVette Store

Visit Amazon's Bettye LaVette Store
for 18 albums, photos, videos, and 12 full streaming songs.

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  • Includes FREE MP3 version of this album Here's how (restrictions apply)
  • An Amazon.com Best of 2005 selection.


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 27, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Anti
  • ASIN: B000AMJDG0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,578 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (Sinead O’Connor)
2. Joy (Lucinda Williams)
3. Down To Zero (Joan Armatrading)
4. The High Road (Sharon Robinson)
5. On The Surface (Rosanne Cash)
6. Just Say So (Cathy Majeski/John Scott Sherrill)
7. Little Sparrow (Dolly Parton)
8. How Am I Different (Aimee Mann)
9. Only Time Will Tell Me (Toni Brown)
10. Sleep To Dream (Fiona Apple)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

After four decades toiling in the record business with little more than a fervent cult following to show for it, Bettye LaVette can seem like soul music's equivalent of Roy Hobbs, protagonist of the bittersweet baseball fable The Natural. Whether this riveting collection of ten covers by an eclectic range of contemporary female singer/songwriters will change the husky-throated Detroit native's fortunes seems irrelevant: Its spare, dusky groove and intensely emotional, in-the-moment performances seem utterly disconnected from concerns as trivial as fame and fashion. A forceful, timely reminder that soul thrives on the singer and not the song, LaVette doesn't so much cover these songs as reinvent them from the inside out, be it the chilling, a capella read of Sinead O'Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" that opens the album, a gritty take of Lucinda Williams' "Joy" where the singer burns with a fire that might make Tina Turner envious or her recasting Dolly Parton's "Little Sparrow" as bluesy omen and "How Am I Different" by Aimee Mann as inviting, r&b shuffle. In a musical era where soulful authenticity and emotional resonance are too often virtual, this album is a delicious dose of the Real Deal. -- Jerry McCulley

Product Description

With one eye on the intimate concept albums Sinatra invented at mid-'50s Capitol, and the other on the gritty yet sophisticated soul records produced at Atlantic in the '60s, this release offers ten songs that tell the story of Bettye LaVette. Recording stints at Motown, Atlantic, Epic, and a host of smaller labels left her with dreams to burn, and she pours every moment of hope and heartbreak from her 44 years in music into her tough-minded new collection. Choosing only songs written by female artists, she spins the tale of a woman in a world where men make the choices. For every moment of fear and loss, there's an answering moment of triumph and defiance. The songs are from such artists as Sinead O'Connor, Lucinda Williams, Joan Armatrading, Rosanne Cash, Dolly Parton, Aimee Mann, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 34 customer reviews
You will listen over and over hearing something new always.
Cindy M
Lavette's voice has always been able to compete with better known performers like Irma Thomas, Ann Peebles and even Tina Turner.
Soulboogiealex
This is soul music, distilled to its essence, the way it should sound all the time.
A Fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Fan on September 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is no comeback album. Bettye LaVette is right where she's always been, doing what she's always done; reaching into a song, finding its heart and staking a claim to it as her own. This is our chance for the world to catch up with her, and it couldn't be a finer opportunity.

"I've Got My Own Hell To Raise" is ten songs from ten female writers who, at first blush, might be surprised they've written soul songs. In each case, opening with the cappella Sinead O'Connor's "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" and closing with Fiona Apple's "Sleep To Dream," LaVette not only taps the emotional essence of each song, she's able to transmit that emotion with no wasted effort or dramatic puffery.

Even better, the brilliance of her performance is matched by the vitality of the attitude portrayed in each song. There's not a whimper to be heard from beginning to end. There's vulnerability, but no weakness. The show of strength is exhilarating.

For those current day melisma-addicted "neo-soul" singers who think it's necessary to stretch every word over a dozen notes and add senseless swoops and trills as a sign of sincerity, "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise" will be a master class on what it means to sing with real soul. The great delight is that we get to sit in on the lesson any time we like.

LaVette sings on the razor's edge of emotion. Every note, every tone, every pregnant pause has a meaning. It is naked, it is pure, it is powerful. LaVette knows what she wants to say, and even better, she has all the tools to tell us. This is a real voice. When she wants to hammer, she hits hard. When she needs to cut deep, she's a laser.

The production of the CD provides the perfect setting for her performance.
Read more ›
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Robert English on September 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'd never heard of this performer until a report on "CBS News Sunday Morning" by Bill Flannagan of VH1 ("Up Next and Recaps" on September 25) included a brief description about this meaty slice of music. I'm not normally grateful to a newscast, but in this case I certainly am - I might have missed out on this incredible singer.

Comparisons to Ann Peebles or Tina Turner come to mind, but that misses the mark since there's a smouldering presence in Bettye's voice that isn't matched elsewhere. The late Janis Joplin would have had this voice in her head as an ambitious ideal to approach, but could never hope to attain.

The musicians in the back give Bettye some wonderful support, enabling her to simply deliver without having to carry lesser talent along with her. The recording quality is supurb, and whatever ambience the studio brought to the table only helps to create the magic surrounding these knockout performances.

If you thought that there was no genuine soulful entertainers left anymore, give this a listen before you walk away. If you miss this, you've missed the world.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A* VINE VOICE on September 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Bettye LaVette can't sing. Lavette can "sang." Time and sour taste has weathered her voice and bent a weird saddened state to her phrasing but it works here. She sounds like the last great gospel singer. She has the kind of voice that Aretha should have if she fell on hard times.

The entire production is showstopping but the care she gives to Dolly Parton's work is masterful. It's an utter shame that this work might be ignored when awards are handed out but that's not the point. The point is that her work has gravity to it in a time when music is all about prodcution above everything else.

Only Mavis Staples and the still great Etta James can come close to evoking such an a lived in performance to another's material.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Bello on September 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I'll keep this short and sweet: this is an album that can make a grown man cry. It's also powerful evidence to all the young whippersnappers who think they're God's gift that some things in life only ripen over time....like Bettye's ability to express her heart and soul.

What a voice! Phenomenal band! Great selection of tunes! Wow!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rick Cornell VINE VOICE on October 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I was completely unfamiliar with Bettye LaVette, until "Down Beat" recently reviewed this album and one of its critics gave it 4 and 1/2 stars. Any singer's album that gets rated that high by that magazine immediately gets my attention.

Now I know why.

This album reminds me of a cross between Janis Joplin and Tina Turner. Ms. LaVette shouts like these two. Everything she does has that stamp of personal heartache and pain; but like Tina and unlike Janis, Bettye sounds like a survivor. She has drunk from the chalice of whiskey and vinegar, and lived to tell the tale without self-inflicting cirrhosis of the liver.

This album has songs from such artists as Sinead O'Connor, Rosanne Cash, Dolly Parton, Fiona Apple, and Joan Armatrading. (My favorite, though, is the title track, which is self-penned and is a tremendous anthem of self-affirmation.) But recall Janis with Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee", or Tina with Fogarty's "Proud Mary." It really doesn't matter much what she does; everything that comes out of her mouth comes from the depth of her soul, and sounds like a product of The New High Priestess of Soul. For that reason, highly recommended. RC
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Bettye Lavette
i heard of lavette in 2005. i was living in atlanta at the time, and she came through. after reading a little about her, i ALMOST went to the show, but i didn't.

boy, now do i wish i had.

when i saw her on the kennedy center honors program, this woman's voice sliced through my heart, leaving... Read More
Jan 26, 2009 by H. Tanner |  See all 2 posts
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