by Brian Smith
We absolutely love Detroit-raised R & B singer Bettye LaVette around here. In fact, Ms. LaVette generated her signature voltage on Jay Leno’s stage last night. The roughly four-minute performance, which was Led Zeppelin’s 1979 nugget "All My Love," proved that her stage style has only gotten feistier with age. Note how she received a standing O.
Of course, she's no longer the puff-haired and twinkle-eyed starlet of "Let Me Down Easy," LaVette has long since taken full advantage of being host to a leaner face and a shorter and more chaotic, but no less stylish, thicket of hair. The Leno performance proved just how well she knows how to employ her body while singing, as she turned her attention to both sides of the crowd, back-and-forth in a fan-like manner, while delivering a flurry of neck-flexing vocals.
Lavette’s new album is called Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, which we recommend. Besides Zep, the album features renditions of songs from, among others, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones.