Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday Soundtrack: Do Your Duty

Bettye LaVette is more famous for the song "He Made A Woman Out of Me" but the first song of hers I ever heard was "Do Your Duty". I was living in Tampa in the early 1980s. I remember hanging out with a couple of my cousins and their girlfriends when this song came on the radio. The second time I heard this song was when I was working at SF Weekly, so that must have been 1998. I was in a night club in San Francisco's Transbay Terminal. (The nightclub isn't there anymore.) The girl I was with was someone I met at John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom Room the night before. (John Lee was still alive then.) It was her scene more than mine. Though my business card got me into all the best bars and nightclubs I was, really, a navy blazer man, even then. I just couldn't get down with jook joint in a bus station, not even with a crazy not-quite-dressed-enough gray-eyed mullato girl. Not even for those fabulous chicken wings one of the other customers brought from home to share with whoever turned up that night. The girl was dangerous. The wings were good. The music was classic R&B. But I had a book waiting for me at home.

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