Album Reviews

Bettye LaVette – Child of the Seventies

Artist:     Bettye LaVette

Album:     Child of the Seventies

Label:     Real Gone Music

Release Date:     03/10/2015

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It seems Charles Bradley isn’t the only soul singer receiving praise a little past due. Out of Michigan comes Bettye LaVette with Child of the Seventies. The album was originally recorded in 1972 when LaVette was sent to the famous Muscle Shoals Sound Studio to record what she was hoping would be her breakthrough record, but it was unfortunately shelved shortly thereafter.

Well, better late than never. Real Gone Music has just released the original album in its entirety along with ten bonus tracks. LaVette goes through a variety of soulful 70’s sounds, including numerous blues cuts and ballads. Child of the Seventies is sonically similar to records by The Mizell Brothers, who were arguably the best production duo at capturing funk and soul in the early ‘70s. A highlight comes on “It Ain’t Easy,” which features powerful backup vocals and a bluesy funk melody. “Your Turn to Cry” is a Curtis Mayfield-esque ballad that reminds the listener just how powerful this genre was in its prime. The best executed track on the record is “Fortune Teller,” which stylistically lies somewhere between Bobbi Humphrey and Donald Byrd.

The album was produced by Brad Shapiro, perhaps best known for his work with James Brown and Millie Jackson. Shapiro gives this record its exceedingly polished sound. Child of the Seventies is not as soulful as James Brown and not as sophisticated as Bobbi Humphrey, but if you enjoy early 70’s soul than you can’t go wrong checking out this lost piece of music history from Bettye LaVette.

– Landon Gampel

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