If you've never heard of Bettye LaVette, the soul singer who belted out "A Change Is Gonna Come" with Jon Bon Jovi at the Inauguration Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial on Jan 18., you may be wondering why.
Bettye LaVette recorded her first hit, "My Man — He's a Lovin' Man," at the age of 16. She toured with Ben E. King, Barbara Lynn and Otis Redding. And now she's being crowned the Comeback Queen for her recent albums, I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, which came out in 2005, and her recent The Scene of the Crime. LaVette recorded The Scene of the Crime at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., with the Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers and the legendary session musician and songwriter Spooner Oldham.
Sharon Jones, head of the old-school funk and soul band Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, is working it. She and her band have a new album, their third, called 100 Days, 100 Nights. They've been touring to support the album, and Jones was recently part of the cast of Berlin, along with Lou Reed. She also shot a part for the upcoming Denzel Washington film The Great Debaters.
Memphis soul label Stax records is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year; a series of tribute concerts are being held, and PBS airs the documentary Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story next week. We feature interviews with musicians who were a big part of the Stax sound.
First up: Guitarist, songwriter and producer Steve Cropper, best known for playing with Booker T & the MGs. He co-wrote "Soul Man" and "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay." This interview first aired on Sept. 18, 1990.
Memphis soul label Stax records celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. One of its biggest stars was Isaac Hayes, who topped the charts in the '70s, going gold with the album Hot Buttered Soul and platinum with his 1972 soundtrack to the movie Shaft. The latter won him an Oscar.
British blue-eyed soul singer Nick Lowe played London's pub scene in the '70s in the band Brinsley Schwarz, produced five albums for Elvis Costello, and played with Ry Cooder and Jon Hiatt in Little Village. Now he's back with a solo album, his ninth, called At My Age, and he joins Terry Gross for an interview and an in-studio performance.
With his band the MGs, Booker T. Jones created the classic instrumental "Green Onions." But they were also the studio band for Stax Records, making music with soul artists such as Otis Redding, Ray Charles and Wilson Pickett. A new two-CD box set features Stax highlights and Booker T. is now back on tour.
Saxophonist Maceo Parker began playing with James Brown in 1964. Parker has released several albums of his own as well as collaborations with others. His latest album is Schools In!, from 2005. This interview originally aired on Oct. 2, 1990.