Bettye LaVette – Do Your Duty

January 01, 1970



What was weird about Bettye LaVette’s triumphant comeback in
2005 is that so many people who embraced it hadn’t heard a note of her
pre-comeback catalog. She’d only cracked the Top 10 on the R&B charts once
– in 1962, with “My Man – He’s A Lovin’ Man,” recorded when LaVette was sweet
16 (and hopefully meant boy when she
said man). This compilation finds the
singer in her early twenties, working the sassier side of soul on horn-fueled
R&B tracks cut for Silver Fox and SSS in 1969 and ’70.


There’s a youthful enthusiasm to the harder-grooving cuts
here that couldn’t be further removed from the sound of the album that made her
a star at the tender age of 59. The Motown-as-Aretha-would’ve-done-it title
track and the simmering country-soul ballad “He Made A Woman Out Of Me” (with
backing by the Memphis Horns) were minor R&B hits. But the tracks that
didn’t hit are just as strong and sometimes even stronger, from the swaggering,
horn-driven soul of “My Train’s Coming In” and its A-side, a rollicking
treatment of Joe South’s greatest hit, “Games People Play,” to the gorgeous,
gospel-flavored soul of “Love Made A Fool Out of Me.”


Standout Tracks: “Love Made a Fool Out of Me,” “My Train’s Coming In.” A. WATT


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