Miss Lavelle White

It Haven't Been Easy (Discovery /Antone's)

The Sabine River is an unobtrusive-looking
entity, best known as the hardy creation of nature that knits together the borders of Texas and Louisiana. Though it can rise and swell with rain or run low in the high summer, it never changes direction, ever-flowing into the mighty Gulf of Mexico. Miss Lavelle White might be able to tell you a thing or about the Sabine, having been born in Louisiana but raised in Texas, and if she can't tell you, she can certainly make you hear it. White is blessed with a voice from God -- rich and soulful, winding and snaking its way through funky, soulful territory. For her second outing on the Antone's label, It Haven't Been Easy, that voice flows like the river, warm, liquid blues pouring over a solid bottom of rocky rhythms. You just can't get enough of her classic sound, churning for four decades, steeped in a Sixties Memphis soul tradition, but comfortably contemporary. White's songwriting imprint is on nine of the album's 12 tracks, and she wends her way from butt-shakers like "Wootie Boogie" to torchy showstoppers like "Mississippi My Home" and "Don't Let My Baby Ride" with stops at familiar titles like her re-make of Eddie Floyd's "I've Never Found a Man to Love" and the late Johnny "Guitar" Watson's "Lonely Lonely Nights." This is dance music, honey, belly-rubbin' blues of the finest kind from one of the masters of the genre. You expect Miss Lavelle White to be good; what you don't expect is that she would be so great.
4.0 Stars -- Margaret Moser

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