Head cheese

Nov 30, 2005 at 12:00 am

Bettye LaVette has worked in show business since she scored a hit with her debut single, “My Man — He’s a Loving Man.” She was 16 years old. Though she’s an extraordinarily expressive vocalist and skilled interpreter of others’ songs, chart success has largely eluded her, despite a wealth of goosebump-raising releases. With the 59-year-old’s latest, the dust-kicker I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise (on Anti- Records, home to Nick Cave, Merle Haggard and Neko Case), the world’s finally hip to what we’ve known for ages — that Bettye LaVette’s a treasure. Despite being buried by the demands of a 10-week tour, she still found time to share a few hometown monomanias.

5. Call [Survivor producer] Mark Burnett: I’d like to make a television show of the [Detroit] City Council, because they’re a group of interesting people.

4. Thanksgiving: I am quite thankful for all that has happened to me. At least now I know I won’t go unrecognized outside of Detroit.

3. Oh my achin’ back: I am very, very tired. More is going on for me now than has gone on my entire life. And when you’re 60, getting off and on buses and planes, all the interviews are exhausting. Whether or not they just discovered me, I’m 60. And if this would get on your mother’s nerves, it’s getting on mine.

2. Detroit Public Schools: I wish they would do better, because my daughter is a teacher at Cody [High] and my grandchildren are students.

1. Slim Gem: I am still a Size 6, while many of my peers are not.


Wednesday, Dec. 7. The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1818.

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