Bette Smith review…September 10, 2017…

BETTE SMITH

JETLAGGER

BIG LEGAL MESS RECORDS  BLM 0545

I WILL FEED YOU–JETLAGGER–I FOUND LOVE–FLYING SWEET ANGEL OF JOY–MANCHILD–DURTY HUSTLIN’–SHACKLE AND CHAIN–MOANING BENCH–DO YOUR THING–CITY IN THE SKY

Bette Smith possesses a voice that’ll take you right back to the day when women such as Etta, Koko, and two other famous Bettys–Wright and Davis–ruled the airwaves, and music was real, with no outside artificial help.  That sass, power, and attitude is all over her debut full-length album, “Jetlagger,” for Big Legal Mess Records.  It’s also produced by Jimbo Mathus, who’s  on guitars, keys, and backing vocals throughout.

Betty grew up poor in the notoriously-rough Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, and sang in church under the tutelage of her father, the church choir director.  The ten cuts on this set mix covers hand-picked by Mathus and originals chose specifically for Bette to get the optimum results from her outstanding range.

The set begins with shimmering guitars over Bette’s lovelorn vocal on “I Will Feed You, with everything I got.”  Her rich gospel roots run deep on  “Flying Sweet Angel Of Joy,” and on the set’s closing tune, made popular by Mavis Staples, “City In The Sky,” where “we sho’ ain’t gonna miss the city we leave behind.”

The funk steals the show, tho,and Bette can sho’ nuff bring it on.  One of Jimbo’s originals, “Manchild,” has Bette just wanting someone “I can teach my lovin’ to!”   Jimbo lays down some more mean slide on the country-blues tale of the “Moaning Bench,”  and Bette flat-out gets all over the groove of Isaac Hayes’ “Do Your Thing.”

Nothin’ hit harder than “Durty Hustlin,” tho.  Another of Jimbo’s originals, Bette gets down ‘n’ durty with the funkified tale of what goes on with “all my friends scufflin’ in the streets all night.”  All this one needs is a visit from John Shaft and a big ;ol  DAMN RIIIGHT!

Bette Smith and the band cut “Jetlagger” live in the studio, and she threw out all her inhibitions (as if she ever had any!)  and just let her voice take the lead.  There’s no pretentious pop here–just pure, raw, emotion-packed soul power the way the greats did it, and is a welcomed set from a dynamite talent!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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One response to this post.

  1. My dearest Sheryl and Don and team,
    I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate you. I’m so deeply grateful and thankful for all your kind words in your awesome blog. You guys ROCK❤️🙏❤️!
    With Fondest regards,
    Ms. Bette Smith

    Reply

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