As a teenager in Detroit, Bettye LaVette scored a hit single with "My Man - He's a Lovin' Man." But by twenty, she had faded into obscurity, and bad luck repeatedly sabotaged her career. Then, after forty years of singing in clubs, her unforgettable performances at the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors and at President Obama's pre-inaugural concert put her back in the spotlight. A chronicle of LaVette's incredible life, A Woman Like Me is a poignant, brazen, take-no-prisoners memoir as thrilling and fearless as her music.
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Bettye LaVette made her first record at sixteen. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Kevin Kiley, and their three cats, Otis, Smokey, and Jeremy. David Ritz has been described by the New York Times as “the first-call celebrity collaborator.” He has worked with everyone from Ray Charles to Don Rickles.Review:
“From the jump, A Woman Like Me is riveting. Bettye LaVette's story grips you and, like her voice, doesn't let go.” —Paul Shaffer
“A dizzying, careening, nonstop roller coaster ride of an autobiography....An unflinching and uncompromising look at a life lived across the tracks from fame, where the brass ring was always within view but never within her grasp.” –Ben Edmonds, Detroit Free Press
“Bettye makes no apologies.” —Jon Bon Jovi
"Anyone who has ever heard Bettye LaVette's voice will recognize how absurd it is that she may have ever been unsung. This is her own story, in her own words. What else could you need to know?” —Elvis Costello
“Absolutely engrossing... a wild ride... [LaVette's] honesty is astonishing and if half of what she relates is true then her journey is no less painful than Billie Holiday’s or Bessie Smith’s.... Longtime residents of Harlem, Chicago, LA, and Detroit will relish those scenes so memorably evoked by LaVette as she recalls the clubs, incidents, and the gaggle of lovers and mentors.... A woman like Bettye LaVette is like no other.” —Herb Boyd, The Network Journal
“LaVette tells it like it is....[She] details the Detroit blues scene. There are beautiful cameo portraits of Aretha Franklin, Solomon Burke and Little Esther Phillips along the way.” –Charles R. Cross, The Seattle Times
“Powerful.” –The Village Voice
“‘[LaVette] is a voice from the wilderness. How did we miss her for so long? A Woman Like Me goes some of the way to explain. Now she is here, an extraordinary discovery in a blues voice. We must hang on to her tightly.” —Pete Townshend
“The life story of this soul singer—a real survivor, now 66—is destined for the big screen...LaVette’s candid story is also a window into the early years of Motown and the Detroit music scene." –Billy Heller, New York Post
“Red hot.” –Steve Holsey, Michigan Chronicle
“LaVette’s autobiography reads like an R&B song only she could perform—soulful and honest....Her quest serves as one of the most authentic inside looks at the American music industry...LaVette’s tale is a treat.” –Publishers Weekly
“LaVette is a rhythm and blues survivor of the highest order, someone whose run of ‘buzzard luck’ as she calls it would have stomped down almost anyone else alive. To read her unrelenting story with every single nitty gritty detail included is to understand what long odds the music business has always been, and also see the high and low points in high-def detail like very few biographies have captured. LaVette is long past shame over some of her escapades, and lucky for us she and co-writer David Ritz capture the arduous journey dead-on, never pulling out the make-up and lip gloss to try and sugarcoat the truth.” –Bill Bentley, The Motion Report
“Besides being remarkably frank, A Woman Like Me is a very funny book, rife with one laugh after another.” –Lee Hildebrand, San Francisco Chronicle
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