Exemplifying that it is truly "better late than never," it has taken over 30 years to finally get soul diva Bettye LaVette's oft-rumored Child of the Seventies out to eager ears. Granted, much of the material was released as Souvenirs on the French indie Art & Soul label in 2000. However, this CD sounds markedly better and the project is served up in its entirety alongside four 45s that the artist recorded during two distinctly different periods of her career. She was credited as "Betty LaVett" in 1962 when "My Man -- He's a Lovin' Man" b/w "Shut Your Mouth," and (the following year) "You'll Never Change" b/w "Here I Am" were licensed and distributed internationally by Atlantic Records, with the former title making it all the way to a very respectable number seven on the R&B charts. LaVette joined forces with producer Brad Shapiro, and in late 1972 found herself signed to the Atlantic Records spinoff Atco, recording what should have been her great breakthrough album at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studios. Yet, when all was said and done, only her cover of Neil Young's " Heart of Gold" b/w "You'll Wake Up Wiser," which was followed several months later by "Your Turn to Cry" b/w "Soul Tambourine," would make it onto store shelves. Originally planned for inclusion on Child of the Seventies, for years the latter two songs remained the album's only remnants; finally, they are presented in their original context as well as in separate mono mixes. Had wiser heads prevailed, Child of the Seventies may have meant Bettye LaVette's name would be as universally acclaimed by R&B lovers as that of, say, Aretha Franklin.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer