Bettye Swann

    Bettye Swann


    After releasing a Candi Staton compilation in 2004, the Honest Jons label releases (again through Astralwerks) another artist’s collection from the Muscle Shoals studios, a treasure trove of Southern soul. But where Staton’s work gave off a production sheen that didn’t give the music room to breathe, Bettye Swann’s work is all soul.


    For those of us who think ’60s Motown was the pinnacle of musical history, this collection is undiscovered gold. A large portion of the work here is covers of country songs: check the brilliantly transformative renditions of “These Arms of Mine,” “Stand By Your Man,” and “Today I Started Loving You.” This is perfect music from a time when country meant soulful and soulful meant more than statutory rape and driving under the influence.

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