Bettye Swann, reconsidered.
January 21, 2008 8:42 PM   Subscribe

When the discussion turns to 60s-era soul divas, the name of Bettye Swann isn't likely to be first on anyone's tongue. But she was possessed of a tender, supple and seductive voice, and she deserves to be heard and reconsidered.

Here's one more YouTube version of "Make Me Yours", from one of those vintage record player enthusiasts who like to post videos of the record itself spinning. I confess to a liking for this particular trend!

One more Bettye Swann page.
posted by flapjax at midnite (12 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks, flapjax! Sometimes I wish that certain MeFites had, like, compilations culled from their FPP's. You're one of them.
posted by not_on_display at 9:03 PM on January 21, 2008

Thanks - Now I realize yet another deficiency in my record collection. Based on “You Can Tell Me” (the “supple” link) alone I know I need to hear more by her. That song is paced absolutely perfect – it seems like it’s about to break out at a few points, but it doesn't oversell itself (especially a 1:12 in where it seems like drums and a bigger band should kick in, but in stead you get a little harp flourish and a return to the restrained beauty). Thanks again.

And I also have a soft spot for the You Tube videos of the record itself spinning – it sure as hell beats the zooming in and out of the record cover.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 9:07 PM on January 21, 2008

When the discussion turns to 60s-era soul divas, the name of Bettye Swann isn't likely to be first on anyone's tongue

Speak for yourself, bub! There are few songs that mean more to me than The Heartache is Gone. I didn't know Honest Jon put out the retrospective album. I guess I'll have to add that to the extremely long list of reasons why I have a completely rational irrational attachment to Damon Albarn.
posted by Kattullus at 9:26 PM on January 21, 2008

When Flapjax says so, who am I but to agree!
posted by humannaire at 12:15 AM on January 22, 2008

{of course, I'll have to turn off my Duran Duran Pandora radio station for a moment...}
posted by humannaire at 12:16 AM on January 22, 2008

Speak for yourself, bub!

Sorry, Kattullus! Allow me to make the necessary modifications, then:

When the discussion turns to 60s-era soul divas, the name of Bettye Swann isn't is likely to be first on anyone's Kattullus' tongue.

OK? :)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:17 AM on January 22, 2008

To this writer's amazement, Swann says she was paid $7,000 for "Make Me Yours" -- in advance. (Since then, however, she says she has received no royalties.)

I love the music industry.

Great post, Flapjax.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:35 AM on January 22, 2008

She's wonderful. (I think I first happened across her via Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures compilation series - well worth checking out those discs if you like this sort of thing.)
posted by jack_mo at 5:02 AM on January 22, 2008

This is sweet, thanks.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:10 AM on January 22, 2008

Wonderful music—thanks for the post! And that "reconsidered" link is a riveting read. Lest we forget what things used to be like:
For sure, it was her proposal to try an upbeat version of Merle Haggard’s classic country ballad ‘Today I Started Loving You Again’ – and Wayne [Shuler, of Capitol Records] was reluctant. The whole time I spoke with him the most excited he got was when he told me that they also cut a slower version as a duet with Buck Owens. As Wayne tells it – “It’s just a killer, man. Nothing but a rhythm track; Bettye and Buck Owens. It’s a killer. Bettye wanted to do it up-tempo the way it is on the album, but I wanted to do it slower and got Buck in. But when Ken Nelson [head of the country division at Capitol] found I’d cut Bettye with Buck he practically had a haemorrhage. Buck was all ready to put Bettye on ‘Hee Haw’ [his massively popular nationally-syndicated country-comedy show], and DJs were ringing begging me to let them have the record, but I had to tell them that Ken Nelson would sack me straightaway if I let that happen.” Though this was a year after the assassination of Martin Luther King, and two years after Charley Pride had become the first black singer to appear on the Grand Ole Opry, the powers that be at Capitol obviously feared that to be seen and heard duetting on a love song with a black woman could seriously damage Buck’s career.
posted by languagehat at 6:14 AM on January 22, 2008

Thank you flapjax.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:35 AM on January 22, 2008

flapjax at midnite: Sorry, Kattullus!

I wish I could sa that the reason Bettye Swann leaps easily to mind is because of my deep and thorough knowledge of 60's soul and R n' B. The truth is that I'm shockingly deficient in that area. Though I really, really like that genre I've never made the leap into it, therefore my knowledge is limited to the biggies (Supremes, Ronettes, Martha and the Vandellas etc) and the occasional obscuro that's somehow ended up in my life, like Bettye Swann.
posted by Kattullus at 7:15 AM on January 22, 2008

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