LaVette Taps Female Tunesmiths For Comeback

Armed with a cache of proven songs, soul singer Bettye LaVette is aiming to make a comeback with her Anti- Records debut, "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise."

Armed with a cache of proven songs, soul singer Bettye LaVette is aiming to make a comeback with her Anti- Records debut, "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise." Due Sept. 27, the largely covers set includes songs by a wide range of female artists, from Lucinda Williams and Dolly Parton to Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple.

Described as "one of R&B's greatest under-acknowledged vocalists" by fan Elvis Costello, LaVette scored her first hit in 1962 at the age of 16 (as Betty LaVett) with "My Man -- He's a Lovin' Man." Recorded for the Detroit-based Lupine label and released by Atlantic, the single reached No. 7 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, a mark that has remained unmatched through a career that has found her recording for the Epic, Motown, Atco, Silver Fox, Scepter and Calla labels.

LaVette -- who was born Betty Haskin and added the "e" to the end of her last name in the early '60s and to her first in the 1980s -- opens her new album with an a cappella version of "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got," the title track of Sinead O'Connor's 1990 sophomore release. She also applies her husky voice to Parton's "Little Sparrow," Mann's "How Am I Different" and Apple's "Sleep To Dream."

Backed by guitarist Doyle Bramhall II (Eric Clapton), bassist Paul Bryan (Mann, Sleepy LaBeef) and drummer Earl Harvin (Seal, The The), LaVette also covers such songs as Williams' "Joy," Joan Armatrading's "Down to Zero" and Rosanne Cash's "On the Surface."

LaVette's last released a Stateside album in 2003, with the Blues Express set "A Woman in Love." It included the self-penned "Hey, Hey, Hey (Bettye's Blues)" and songs written and co-written by producer Dennis Walker (Robert Cray).

The artist will spend the first half of July touring Italy and will appear July 15 as part of the summer Celebrate Brooklyn schedule. A handful of August and September U.S. performances are also on tap, including a Sept. 24 at the Austin (Texas) City Limits Music Festival. LaVette's full schedule can be found via her official Web site.

Here is the "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise" track list:

"I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got"
"Joy"
"Down To Zero"
"The High Road"
"On the Surface"
"Just Say So"
"Little Sparrow"
"How Am I Different"
"Only Time Will Tell Me"
"Sleep To Dream"