Bettye Lavette

If you would like to sponser us please contact us
Bettye Lavette

Bettye Lavette

Posted: 25 Jul 2014

Sage Gateshead
20 July


Let’s get the major question out of the way first – yes, she can still sing.

The worry when spending time in the presence of a “living legend” is that time hasn’t been kind and 50 years of singing has taken its toll – look no further than Smokey Robinson’s “performance” on a recent TV special from Edinburgh – a convincing argument for rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall….

In Bettye’s case, a rather less-than-convincing appearance on “Later” a couple of years ago didn’t inspire confidence, but after opening with sturdy covers of Free’s “The Stealer” and Bob Dylan’s “Everything is Broken”, she confidently carried off her biggest hit, “Let Me Down Easy” from 1965 (recently rediscovered and revisited by both Mick Hucknall and Paloma Faith.)

This self-confessed Anglophile who worked in Europe during years of indifference in the USA then dipped into her album of covers by female singers for “Joy” by Lucinda Williams – confirming that more than one round of Martinis had been shared when the pair met. You wouldn’t want to settle that bar bill.

A mixed bag of tracks then followed, ranging from 1965’s vaguely raunchy “John Henry Made A Woman Out of Me” to “Love Reign O’er Me” – the latter a Who cover whose forceful interpretation banished any lingering doubt of her vocal prowess at the age of 68. A righteous reworking of Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” meanwhile mercifully excluded the Percy Edwards chirping. 

Bringing further variety to proceedings, her four piece band were then augmented by the 40-piece Summertyne Country Choir, who added their voices to “Close as I'll Get to Heaven.”

Concluding with one more left-field selection, Bettye revisited“Salt of the Earth” from the Rolling Stones album “Beggars Banquet.” Containing the line, “raise a glass to the hard-working people”, a few post-gig tinctures were richly deserved and perhaps the secret of her longevity.  Cheers!

Mike Bolam

You May Also Be Interested

Linked Articles:

You May Also Be Interested

ne4me's picks of 2016

ne4me's picks of 2016

Picture: The Lake Poets RESTAURANT There are pizza places aplenty in every city in the country and Sunderland is no different, so to stand out from the crowd you really have to be doing well – and Devito’s is. Right opposite Mowbray Park and the city’s main museum Devito’s has free parking next to it after 5.30pm. You can get Italian dishes other than pizza here but why would you? The pizzas are huge, tasty and not expensive. What more do you need?  RM Peace and Loaf in...

Read More

The Shires

The Shires

Sage Gateshead   5 December Three years ago The Shires played The Sage…in the café. Now they’re headlining Hall One to a rapturous audience having hit the big-time.  The sky’s the limit for the duo from the shires of Hertford and Bedford. With their star rapidly rising who knows how far they’ll travel through the universe. Their second album ‘My Universe’ is the fastest-selling UK Country album ever. Their debut, ‘Brave’ had been the first UK country album...

Read More

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

An Audience with Jodi Picoult Sage Gateshead 24 November  Jodi Picoult is one of modern fiction’s best-selling authors. Her 23 novels have sold over 40 million copies, with the last eight debuting at Number 1 in the New York Times best-sellers lists. Two days after the UK launch she was at The Sage to promote her new book ‘Small Great Things’. Picoult’s formula is to take a really serious subject and tackle it head-on in a direct, fast–paced style which grabs the r...

Read More

view

Audio Interviews

Reviews

ne4me's picks of 2016

ne4me's picks of 2016...

Picture: The Lake Poets RESTAURANT There are pizza places aplenty in every city in the country and Sunderland is no different, so to ...

Whats on

Philippa Hanna on Marti Pellow tour

Philippa Hanna on Marti Pellow tour...

UK singer/songwriter Philippa Hanna supports Marti Pellow (Wet Wet Wet) on his nine-date tour of the country, with a North East gig at Sage ...