on life, music etc beyond mainstream

I found my love ’neath the gasworks croft falls
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
Kissed my girl by the factory wall
Dirty old town, dirty old town

Clouds are drifting across the moon
Cats are prowling on their beat
Springs a girl in the streets at night
Dirty old town, dirty old town

Heard a siren from the dock
Saw a train set the night on fire
Smelled the spring on the smoky wind
Dirty old town, dirty old town

I’m going to take a good sharp ax
Shining steel tempered in the fire
We’ll chop you down like an old dead tree
Dirty old town, dirty old town

© Stormking Music
„The most stunning track here is LaVette’s reinvention of the old folk song „Dirty Old Town,“ best known in the version by the Pogues. She fills it with disgust and ominous menace — there’s also a slower version of „Dirty Old Town“ that lets a measure of sadness creep back in at the close of the album.“

This entry was posted on Freitag, 5. Oktober 2012 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Four releases into one of the more remarkable musical resurrections in recent memory, Bettye LaVette is clearly in it for the long haul. 
    Her decades of toil after slowly sliding off the national map in the late 1960s and ‘70s have given LaVette a most unique point of view, five + decades after she first made a splash as a young, strong voiced soul singer out of Detroit. Her struggle, and ultimate vindication, have been on full display on all of her previous recent releases, but never as overtly as on Thankful N‘ Thoughtful (excepting maybe „Before the Money Came (The Battle of Bettye LaVette“) from the brilliant The Scene of the Crime). The fact that this is played out through her highly personal interpretations of eleven cover songs is all the more intriguing. 
    There’s several decades of bitterness, disappointment and anger pent up in many of these tracks, fortunately more than a little leavened by a sense by a pride in her survival and a well-earned realization that her ship finally came in. So the first half of the CD is pretty down and dark, as evidenced by the song titles: „Everything Is Broken,“ „I’m Tired,“ “ The More I Search (The More I Die),“ „Dirty Old Town.“ But this is also bracing, emotionally bare-knuckled stuff: a world weary, swampy blues take on Bob Dylan’s „Everything Is Broken;“ a hushed, noir version of the Black Keys‘ „I’m Not The One;“ a beautiful, mournful rendition of „Dirty Old Town“ by The Pogues; a hard, rocking bluesy remake of the Savoy Brown classic „I’m Tired;“ and a stunning, emotionally wrenching version of „Crazy“ by Gnarls Barkley. 
    Things pick up a bit in the 2nd half, starting with a New Orleans music hall reworking of Tom Waits‘ „Yesterday is Here“ and an eerie, methodical take of what clearly could be an autobiographical number, Sly Stone’s „Thankful N‘ Thoughtful.“ Even better is a positively luminous version of Patty Griffin’s „Time Will Do the Talking“ and an upbeat, positivist rendition of Neil Young’s „Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.“ The best might be the slow, smoky funk groove of  Beth Nielsen Chapman’s „Fair Enough,“ with LaVette digging deep into some serious heartbreak. 
    Producer Craig Street and LaVette’s killer band have concocted a  pleasingly minimalist melange that mixes bluesy, soulful grooves with country and rock, putting LaVette’s voice front and center, exactly where it should be. LaVette is in incredibly fine form, squeezing every amount of emotional resonance out of every track, her voice a well burnished, emotionally charged instrument that she plays like a master. 
    Thankful N‘ Thoughtful isn’t for the faint of heart or the smiley-face crowd, but for anyone seeking a visceral connection to the lifeblood of real people living real lives, park it right here. 

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