Daily Download: "The High Road," Bettye LaVette

An underappreciated queen of soul is back with a beautiful new album.

Published September 19, 2005 7:01AM (EDT)

A few years ago ANTI Records head Andy Kaulkin made magic by putting soul legend Solomon Burke in the studio with Joe Henry, best known as a songwriter and performer himself, but just as talented as a producer with a knack for putting together a top-notch band and then staying out of the singer's way. Kaulkin's latest enthusiasm is Bettye LaVette, a soul singer who has been making great records for over four decades, but whose name has never spread much beyond the cognoscenti. To produce her new record, "I've Got My Own Hell to Raise," Kaulkin once again turned to Henry, with beautiful results. The songs on the record are all written by women, which may be a little gimmicky in theory, but in practice it's just a great batch of tunes, sung by LaVette with grit and grace and, of course, soul. "The High Road" is by Sharon Robinson, and also available for free download is LaVette's rendition of Joan Armatrading's "Down to Zero."

By Salon Staff

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