Photo Carol Friedman
Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: "Bettye LaVette has exquisite taste in songs and the gravelly delivery to wring every bit of meaning from their lyrics. The combination is superlative here…her knowing rasp pushes the album onto terra firma between the blues and power pop." A-
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: "The marriage of singer and song is perfect."
LOS ANGELES TIMES: "She transforms the familiar by dialing back from the sometimes grandiose originals, reconceived as something far more raw and personal."
USA TODAY: "Required listening for music lovers of all nationalities and sensibilities."
ROLLING STONE: "LaVette brings simmering blues to Pink Floyd ('Wish You Were Here'), the Moody Blues ('Nights in White Satin'), the Who ('Love Reign O'er Me'), the Stones ('Salt of the Earth') and especially Elton John, whose diva ownership of 'Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me' is forever challenged."
THE NEW YORKER: "LaVette's vocals are unimpeachable."
ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "Every one of these tracks is a well-known song, seemingly immutable in the original version, but amazingly, LaVette steals each and every one of them…LaVette is singing better than ever, and if she isn't a household name, she ought to be. This is a remarkable album because this lady is a remarkable singer – that's the bottom line."
ONION A,V. CLUB: "LaVette…digs deep to mine the grit and melancholy that a lot of these songs, as great as they are, didn't know they had."
HUFFINGTON POST: "The High Priestess of R&B…There's nothing of the archival about these performances. She is appropriately disrespectful of the original and respectful of her audience to make these her own…It's astonishing to hear what depths can be found in these songs…LaVette inhabits these tunes, wraps her skin around them like some kind of song-eating monster. There's something so deeply human going on here that it's incantatory, so distinct that it's indelible. So true that it dares to be ugly sometimes. So right that it can cause you pain."
NEW YORK POST: "It's a don't miss treat."
PASTE: "She doesn't just cover The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Who, Led Zeppeln and more – she wholly re-imagines the songs. LaVette's raw singing chops revitalize transcendent lyrics that many of today's top female singers wouldn't be able to handle."
Photo Carol Friedman
POLLSTAR: "Sometimes it takes a long time for the spotlight to find you. Just ask R&B singer Bettye LaVette, who waited almost 40 years for her turn – but boy is she making up for lost time now."
JAMBANDS.COM: "Talk about interpretations: LaVette has a knack for taking hold of a tune, wrapping herself up in it, and simply becoming the damn thing… By the time you've made one pass through Interpretations, however, Bettye LaVette has you believing that these tunes were written for her to begin with. And maybe they were."
EXAMINER.COM: "Bettye turns [these] songs inside-out with her sandpaper-silk voice and gut-wrenching delivery, taking them, in a sense, back to the source."
TAMPA TRIBUNE: "Whatever genre Bettye LaVette chooses her material from, it's R&B when she sings it… If further proof were needed, LaVette's upcoming album, Interpretations: The British Songbook, should settle the matter for good."
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TURN IT UP BLOG: "The results can be ear-opening, as when she finds the bluesy heartache inside the Ringo Starr hit 'It Don't Come Easy.'"
DALLAS MORNING NEWS: "There's no questioning Bettye LaVette's artistic integrity or the raw, trilling honesty in her pipes."
MASSLIVE.COM: "Fascinating and frequently intoxicating."
BLURT ONLINE: "On this album LaVette goes as far as anyone ever has to break down the forced and superfluous barriers between rock and roll and rhythm and blues. This album will break your heart at least half a dozen times ('Wish You Were Here') and twice that many times ('It Don't Come Easy') it will put you flat on your ass with your mouth wide open…If this record helps shine a brighter light on a criminally under-noticed veteran soul singer like LaVette then maybe it might be safe to turn your radio on again."
BOSTON HERALD: "Enough with covers. Enough with 'American Idol,' 'Glee' and Rod Stewart tribute-to-the-past records. We need artful, inspired interpretations, not flat remakes. And r & b comeback queen Bettye LaVette delivers just what we need. With huge or intimate and always impassioned vocals, she kills."
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: "LaVette almost invariably brings…devastating power. With her gospel-infused grit, a well-disciplined sense of drama, and the ability to bring a lifetime of experience - including four decades of professional disappointments before her belated recognition - LaVette gives these mostly well-chosen songs by the Beatles, Stones, Traffic, Pink Floyd, and others a rich, new emotional depth as well as a shot of rhythm and blues."
LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER: "The songs might have come from across the pond, but Interpretations is all LaVette. It's a thoroughly Americanized blast of soul music testimony both earthy and ageless."
IN THE BASEMENT: "The lady's finest work to date… Prepare to be drained after each number…Traffic's 'No Time To Live' is absolutely chilling, while Pink Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here,' aided by haunting strings, would make stronger men than I weep." (Star Pick)