Bettye LaVette on Why She’s Singing ‘Strange Fruit’ Now

Bettye LaVette spent the morning doing yard work at her home in West Orange, New Jersey. After that, she exercised, and now she’s thinking about dinner. “I have never seen so much repetition in my life,” the singer, 74, says of her life in isolation. LaVette has been touring since since her teens, when she scored her first R&B hit with 1963’s “My Man — He’s a Lovin’ Man,” on Atlantic Records. In the Sixties, she toured with Otis Redding and James Brown, who was a huge fan, but her career fizzled out toward the end of that decade, going through a series of twists and turns — from a classic album getting shelved to her manager getting killed by the mob…

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