Bettye LaVette opens her forthcoming album, Worthy, with a tune written by Bob Dylan, reworking one of the often-covered singer-songwriter’s least covered cuts: 1990 Under the Red Sky single “Unbelievable.” “I think it’s unbelievable,” LaVette says of the original recording, which she fills out with rising vocals and a little funk swing. “My husband had me listen to the song – that’s how I come across nearly all the songs I do. Dylan is always a favorite as I find his lyrics so challenging. Since I’m a singer, I did it my way.”
In Paul Evans’ original Rolling Stone review of Under the Red Sky, the writer expressed mixed feelings toward the record – “A pastel version of genius isn’t, of course, a bad thing,” he wrote – but listed “Unbelievable” as the chief among its several highlights, suggesting that it displays Dylan’s “trademark prophet’s rage.”
LaVette’s version of the song will be available January 27th when the 11-track Worthy is set for release on Cherry Red Records (the album can be preordered here). That same day, LaVette will begin a two-week residency at New York’s Café Carlyle, and as the year goes on she will continue work on a film version of her memoir, A Woman Like Me.