Great singers in jazz, blues and soul have regularly taken on the Great American Songbook — but then again, so has Rod Stewart. So forgive Bettye LaVette, the most devastatingly emotional singer on the planet, if she bypasses that hallowed ritual and stalks the British Rock Songbook on her latest album. Do you really want to hear LaVette, whose career has gone stratospheric after decades of industry neglect, tackle the hits of Led Zeppelin, Ringo Starr, the Stones and Pink Floyd? Yes, you do, if you still care about the pure power of interpretive singing too muscular and self-possessed for genre distinctions, the undiluted vocal force of a woman who approaches some classic rock songs like a struggle with cosmic forces — and body slams them all.
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