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Bettye LaVette ‘Dirty Old Town’: Soul Singer Gives Fresh Spin on Ewan MacColl Track

Marina Chavez

Veteran soul singer Bettye LaVette is celebrating 50 years in the music industry, a feat that few can boast. A singer that cut her first record at the tender age of 16, LaVette is releasing Thankful N’ Thoughtful, her fourth album, due Sept. 25 via Anti-Records.

The BoomBox has the exclusive song premiere of the chanteuse’s “Dirty Old Town,” featured on her forthcoming opus. Though the effort belongs to another famous singer, LaVette reveals she made the tune all her own.

“I re-wrote the song about the city I love, Detroit,” the songstress shares. “And I love the slow version.”

“Dirty Old Town” was originally written and performed by British folksinger Ewan MacColl. LaVette re-imagines the work and does the same with several other classics on the album, including Bob Dylan’s “Everything Is Broken.”

LaVette’s voice winds through a finger-picked guitar and an insistent bass line as she sings, “Dirty old town/ But it’s home to me,” revealing her love for her home city.

Stream the track below and look for her album and upcoming tour this fall.

Listen to Bettye LaVette’s “Dirty Old Town”

Along with the release of her Thankful N’ Thoughtful LP, LaVette will release her autobiography, A Woman Like Me, o-written by David Ritz, on Sept. 27.

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