Sunday, August 23, 2020

#459 : Bette Smith - The Good The Bad The Bette


2020 – Ruf Records

Release Date : Sep. 25, 2020

By Phillip Smith; Aug. 23, 2020


Three years have passed since Bette Smith released her debut album Jetliner.  The Good The Bad The Bette, her follow-up album, is an exquisite explosion of gritty, soulful, and funky music.  Recorded at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi, the record was produced by Matt Patton (Drive-By Truckers), and Bronson Tew.  With Patton on bass guitar, and Tew on drums, Smith enlists a small army of guitarists comprised of Luther Dickinson, Jimbo Mathus, Craig Pratt, Jody Nelson, Bronson Tew, Matt Patton, Curtis J. Brewer, and John Mcleod.   

A bodacious cover of Lonnie Sheilds’ “Fistful of Dollars” struts in with a glamourous, spaghetti-western disco fashion.  The rhythm is downright funky and sophisticatedly accompanied with strings and horns.  “Whistle Stop”, an original from Smith is extremely bluesy and soulful.  Based on a dream she had shortly before her mother passed, this is a song commemorating her last goodbye.  Featuring Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers ), “I’m a Sinner” invokes the sounds of sixties surf rock and absolutely cooks.  Smith’s vocals are fearless and from the gut, reminiscent of power-house soul singers Aretha Franklin, and Sharon Jones.  Luther Dickinson makes a guest appearance to pour some sweet southern soul into “Signs and Wonders”, setting the stage for an uplifting cosmic spiritual.  Smith serves up a big bowl of Muscle Shoals-style southern rock, with a delightful cover of The Dexateens’ “Pine Belt Blues”.  The band is tight as hell, and Smith’s vocals are rich and superb.  More Muscle Shoals-inspired music follows with a fabulous cover of the late, great Eddie Hinton’s “Everybody Needs Love”, featuring Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers.     

The Good The Bad The Bette is beautiful and flawless.  Don’t let this record pass you by.



For more information about the artist, visit this website :

Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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