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Rickie Lee Jones and Bettye LaVette interpret the blues

Rickie Lee Jones and Bettye LaVette interpret the blues

In a concert last month at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe, the buzzy English singer Paloma Faith crouched down near the floor to sing "Let Me Down Easy." It's a tough-love song associated with a number of hardy soul-music veterans, including Bettye LaVette and the late Etta James, and Faith was doing what she could (despite her youth and a seriously movement-constricting dress) to channel some of their gravitas. LaVette does some crouching of her own on "Thankful N' Thoughtful," a powerful new covers album that finds the 66-year-old R&B singer tapping into the desperation of tunes like Neil Young's "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" and...

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