I never, even in my most wishful daydeams, expected to be able to see her sing live. Amazingly, thanks to the saints at Kent Records, it could actually happen as she's scheduled to appear at Ady Croasdell's Cleethorpes 6Ts Weekender:
It will be her first performance in Europe. It's almost too dizzy-making to contemplate that in the space of a week I could see the most significant group in my life, The Pastels (they play Glasgow's CCA with The Wake on June 1st), and the soul singer whose voice I cherish the most. Goosebumps! Adrenalin! That her best known work was released four decades ago doesn't dissuade me from wanting to see her sing in 2013. After all, I saw Roger McGuinn 30 years after The Byrds cut "Mr. Tambourine Man" and that was unforgettable. Also, Bettye's vocal performances were never about chandelier shattering or insecurely running up and down the scales to prove her chops like a lot of those less interesting performers who came after her. They were so much more nuanced and expressive than that so if age has slightly altered her voice, it won't diminish her ability to deliver the songs; it may, if anything, give them even more poignancy.