Bettye LaVette

The Scene of the Crime

When I wrote this past weekend about Black Girls’ new album Hell Dragon, I mentioned that one of my favorite parts of seeing live music is expecting the unexpected. Even if you’ve seen a band before, you never know what you’ll find at their next show. Coincidentally, when I was finishing dinner before heading over to the Hell Dragon release party at the Camel, I was blindsided by a totally unexpected musical surprise, but it was a piece of recorded music — one that I’d heard a zillion times, for that matter — that did the blindsiding. To be painfully honest, I first heard Bettye LaVette’s “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces” by accident. I needed to listen to “Pick Up the Pieces” by Average White Band (don’t ask) and absentmindedly let Spotify play through the song title search results. Quick side note — Spotify searches make for the strangest playlists you’ll ever hear. When “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces” came on, I heard LaVette’s deep, expressive and soulful voice placed against a sweet, southern backdrop of twangy pedal steel and lazy drums, piano and bass, and I fell for the juxtaposition right away. It was a powerful moment of discovery, one I got to relive when I finally found a used copy of The Scene of the Crime, the album on which “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces” appears, at Deep Groove Records on Saturday. At dinner a few hours later, I shared news of my vinyl find with Robbie, a friend whose brain is a musical encyclopedia, and that’s when he blindsided me. “Oh yeah, The Scene of the Crime. You know her band on that album is Drive-By Truckers?” Bam. In that moment, a wormhole opened up and two treasured parts of my musical universe were suddenly and permanently connected. I couldn’t believe it, nor could I wait to give the whole album another listen, this time with the knowledge of who was providing that sweet, southern backdrop. Listen to the song below to see what I mean and click here to buy The Scene of the Crime. Who knows what surprises await when you do!

Bettye LaVette — “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces

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