Bettye LaVette – “Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook”

Hear Bettye LaVette boldly dive into classics from The Who, George Harrison, Pink Floyd, Traffic, Ringo Starr, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and The Moody Blues on this impressive heartfelt endeavor.

Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook has 12 studio selections including “Isn’t It A Pity,” “Wish You Were Here,” “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Nights In White Satin,” “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” and “Salt Of The Earth.”

Included is a live bonus track of “Love Reign O’er Me” performed December 6, 2008 at the 31st “Kennedy Center Honors” in Washington D.C., with the songwriter and honoree, Pete Townsend, in attendance. Townsend immediately praised this incredibly refreshing rendition to critics, fans and via his own blog.

LaVette has background roots in soul-soaked rhythm & blues music from black radio stations which rarely, if ever, played these songs from the 1960’s and 1970’s to a then much different demographic.

Her vocals range across a husky whisper to a raspy growl then onto clear tones resulting in an innate ability to maximize tempo changes as she breathes. The craft is to place lyrical emphasis using an annunciated cadence of different syllable pacing to reinvent these songs with respect and overwhelming dignity. Each song goes through a metamorphosis into a recognizable new different orbit.

The songs are pleasurable without slipping into an appeasing preconceived expectation of the original version. This CD is not a habitual note by note reflection of venerated songs as found in tribute bands and cover artists. It is not even close to this expectation. It is unconventional. As the title aptly gives fair notice, these are interpretations — not carbon copies. This is a new aural prescription to behold.

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