It's the final episode of Season 1 and I'm signing off in style with my guest this week, the spectacular Bettye LaVette. Bettye has a memory like a steel trap and an engaging and self-deprecating way about hr that makes for great storytelling. Since her first single "My Man - He's a Lovin' Man" in 1962 at age sixteen, Bettye has had a career full of ups and downs, and as she tells it, more downs than ups in the first forty! But in those years she managed to drift on and off Atlantic Records 5 times, and at one point, due to some questionable advice, actually asked legendary producer Jerry Wexler to be let off the label. He handed her $500 and told her she'd need it! Growing up in Detroit, and learning to sing in her parents' living room while they were selling booze to the locals, as well as the touring gospel groups of the day (Sam Cooke used to drop in for refreshments), Bettye developed an incredible voice and a desire to get out and perform. Some early success put her on the road with Ben E King, Clyde McPhatter, James Brown, and Otis Redding, but every success seemed to be followed by disappointment with some bad timing, poor promotion, and sketchy advice. It really wasn't until the mid-2000's that Bettye found a new audience and since then has made a string of incredible records with producers like Joe Henry and Patterson Hood with the Drive By Truckers. Her recent book "A Woman Like Me" tells her story, but as always, it's more fun hearing them straight from her! Bettye's latest album is called "Worthy" and is well worth seeking out. Thank you for listening to the show and being a fantastic audience. I'll return soon for Season 2 - stay tuned, and please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!
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