Today I Started Loving You Again: Bettye Swann – ‘The Complete Atlantic Recordings’

9 Feb

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Her name kept alive by those Northern acolytes who’ve always kept the flame burning, and a few clued up radio DJs (stand up Peter Young), Bettye Swann hasn’t made a new record in 38 years, and yet her influence continues to echo across the decades and is even now acknowledged by a wave of younger performers (with Joss Stone recording her ‘Victim Of A Foolish Heart’ on 2003’s ‘Soul Sessions’, and Duffy name-checking her in recent years).  Bettye had early success in the 60s for the Money label, and after nearly signing for Motown, recorded a number of sides for Capitol and latterly Atlantic in the late 60s and early 70s, where, despite the quality of the music she produced, she enjoyed little commercial success before leaving the music business in 1980.  She was 36 years old…

Her country-influenced sides for Capitol were released on a great Honest Jon’s compilation a few years back (highly recommended as well: http://www.honestjons.com/label.php?pid=28337), this latest release focuses on the sides she made for Atlantic at the end of her career.  Recording for the likes of Rich Hall at Muscle Shoals and the Young Professionals in Philadelphia, these sessions only resulted in 6 singles, despite their obvious quality.  A combination of poor promotion and changing musical tastes meant the remainder of these tracks remained largely unreleased and ignored until now, so its great to be able to listen them together.  And what shines out is the sheer quality and sophistication of Bettye’s performances of these songs of love and regret and heartache – never did longing and desire sound so grown-up and knowing.

A record you’ll keep going back to, I can’t imagine that there’ll be a better soul reissue this year.  Thank you Bettye.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Atlantic-Recordings-Bettye-Swann/dp/B00GJ7CSB2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391973157&sr=8-1&keywords=bettye+swann

‘Today I Started Loving You Again’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PutsPwGsJuI

‘When The Game Is Played On You’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUTSWMlCggs

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