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REVIEW: Bettye LaVette Brings Café Carlyle to Tears with Old Songs from New Album 'Worthy'

by Jaime Prisco   Feb 6, 2015 11:04 AM EST

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When you walk into Café Carlyle, it's clear that not just anyone can take the stage. It has to be SOMEBODY. Most recently, that somebody was the Great Lady of Soul, herself, Bettye LaVette.

As she took the stage, LaVette’s gracefulness was all shine. But behind that, though, there was clearly a fire burning in her soul. Most of the show, I found myself wondering, 'how is that huge voice coming out of such a small person?' She sings each song with such intensity, it's impossible not to get sucked it--hanging on her every note.

LaVette sang the entirety of her new album Worthy, which she joked was just finished that same day. Worthy, released on Jan. 27, showcases little-known tracks from well-known performers: “Unbelievable” by Bob Dylan, “Complicated” by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, “Wait” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Of course, it’s not just the range of Mrs. LaVette's vocal; it's the depth, too, that really makes her pipes legend. In fact, the two greatest things about this 69-year-old that evening is that you felt like each song was chosen for a specific emotional purpose and every word therein was rendered with the same ethos as the original.

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