BETTY LAVETTE - THE 1972 MUSCLE SHOALS SESSIONS
Bettye LaVette, born Betty Jo Haskins, from Detroit, Michigan, is easily one of the most important yet sometimes overlooked soul singer and songwriter of all time. She made her first record at the age of 16 but achieved only intermittent fame until 2005 when she released the ANTI album, "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise," which was on many critics Best of 2005 lists. She did not grow up performing in the church like many of her contemporaries. In 1962 at the age of 16 she was signed by Johnnie Mae Matthews, a local record producer, and recorded the single, "My Man - He's A Lovin' Man" which became a Top Ten R&B hit after Atlantic Records bought distribution rights. The success of this single led to a tour with Clyde McPhatter, Ben E. King, Barbara Lynn and Otis Redding. She recorded the Wreich Holloway-written song, "Let Me Down Easy," on Calla Records in 1965 which became a chart hit (#48) and led to a brief stint with the James Brown Revue. After recording several different singles for local Detroit labels, Lavette signed to Silver Fox in 1969 and recorded a handful of songs, including two Top 40 R&B Hits: "He Made A Woman Out Of Me," and "Do Your Duty," both produced by Lelan Rogers. The Memphis studio musicians that played on both of these hits later became known as the Dixie Flyers. In 1972, Bettye signed with Atlantic/Atco and was sent to the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama to record a full length album. Produced by Brad Shapiro and featuring the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, the album was supposed to originally be titled as Child of the Seventies but Atco chose to shelve the project at the time. After Bettye played her own personal recordings of Child of the Seventies for French soul music collector, Gilles Petard, he chased the master recordings at Atlantic Records where they were thought to have been destroyed in a fire. In 1999 he discovered the masters and licensed the material and released it in 2000 as "Souvenirs" on his Art and Soul label on CD. The album helped to spark renewed interest in Lavette and in 2003, "A Woman Like Me," was released and won the 2004 W.C Handy Award for "Comeback Blues Album of the Year." Bettye signed to the Rosebud Agency and was then brought to the attention of Andy Kaulkin at ANTI Records who signed her to a 3-album deal. The first project was produced by Joe Henry and featured an album of songs written entirely by women. The resulting album, "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise," was successful in helping to raise awareness on Bettye in 2005-2006. Rhino Handmade then reissued "Souvenirs" as "Child of the Seventies" on CD and added some previously unreleased 1973 tracks. Since her release on ANTI, she has gone on to many accomplishments, including receiving a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 2006, A Blues Music Award for Best Contemporary Female Blues Singer in 2008 and another Blues Music Award in 2016 for Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year. If voted to win, this would be the first time that Bettye's classic 1972 Muscle Shoals Sessions would be released all in one place on a long playing vinyl record. And if that wasn't good enough, if the title goes up for pre-order next month we will give fans the opportunity to vote on 3 different cover art options!