Monday 30th March saw us filter our way down the A1 from Nottingham to Camden Town and the Jazz Café.

Tonight's headline act was none other than Bettye Lavette. She may sound like just another soul singer to some folk, but for me, having bought and cherished Northern Soul records for years and looked out especially for Bettye 45s, this was a lifetime’s treat. We got into the venue about half an hour before Bettye arrived on stage. The Jazz Cafe was busy, but at this point I wouldn’t have said that it was jammed. As the call came out for Bettye to grace the stage, you could not, however, move from the stairs to the gods where we were up to the front.

The crowd erupted as Bettye glided down the stairs to the stage. Immediately she asked that all the glasses that were lined up on the edge of it were removed, saying "Get rid of all this - I got to have room to mooooove!"

She started from the front with Bob Dylan’s ‘Unbelievable’, and worked her way through her entire new album ‘Worthy’ until by the end there wasn't a dry eye in the house. The raw emotion and heartfelt honesty had us all captivated.

We were then treated to a few other tracks in the first encore, which Bettye introduced by saying, "I always ask wherever we have gone on this tour what the audience want to hear, but I guess in England that could be a foolish idea." The crowd responded in true Northern Soul style by shouting out track after track until Bettye halted proceedings by starting up into a rendition of ‘Let Me Down Easy’.

Bettye concluded her second encore by singing ‘I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got’ a capella from the top of the stairs and slowly making her way once more down them until she finished off in the centre of the Jazz Cafe stage. There was not a single sound to be heard. The crowd were mesmerised by her faultless rendition of it. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end as I am writing now, and I can tell you that night I left the Jazz Cafe a very happy man.


1. 'Unbelievable' (Bob Dylan cover)
2. 'When I Was a Young Girl' (Savoy Brown cover)
3. 'Bless Us All' (Mickey Newbury cover)
4. 'Stop' (Joe Henry cover)
5. 'Undamned' (Linford Detweiler cover)
6. 'Complicated' ( Rolling Stones cover)
7. 'Where a Life Goes' (Randall Bramblett cover)
8. 'Just Between You and Me and the Wall, You're a Fool' (Amazing Rhythm Aces cover)
9. 'Wait' ( Beatles cover)
10. 'Step Away'
11. 'Worthy'(Mary Gauthier cover)


13. 'Joy' (Lucinda Williams cover)
14. 'Let Me Down Easy'
15. 'Before the Money Came' (The Battle of Bettye Lavette)
16. 'I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got' (Sinéad O’Connor cover)

Photos by Dave Goodwin

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