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Tuesday, November 24, 2009


320 KBPS

This is reissue of the first self-titled "Betty Davis" album, originally released in 1973 on the Just Sunshine label.
"Something like Madonna, something like Prince. She was the beginning of all that..." So wrote Miles Davis of the one-woman erotic Swat team whose amazing first two albums - the long-lost libidinal high-water marks of early Seventies funk - have just been reissued They Say I'm Different and Betty Davis.
And Miles should have known. He was (briefly) married to her, after all !!
Former Mrs. Miles Davis, the "Nasty Gal" of funk, Betty is an ex fashion model who started singing in the early 60s prior to her Miles Davis (and Jimi Hendrix) affiliations.
And even though she and Miles divorced before 1973, Betty Mabry kept her famous last name and released three fabulously funky discs from '73-'75.
..."After the break-up with Miles, she was linked with many other musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Hugh Masekela, Eric Clapton, Robert Palmer, and Michael Carabello of Santana. A gifted songwriter, she continued to pen songs for herself and others, but her personal relationships with jazz & rock's elite no doubt opened other doors, and proved particularly useful when it came time to gather session musicians for her first album.
Betty headed out to San Francisco in 1972, where Carabello introduced her to Sly Stone's rhythm section. Funk bassist Larry Graham and drummer Greg Errico were tapped for Betty Davis, along with guitarists Neal Schon (Santana) and Doug Rodrigues (Mandrill), and organist Hershall Kennedy (Graham Central Station). Back-up vocalists included Sylvester, the Pointer Sisters, Patryce Banks (Graham Central Station), and Kathi McDonald (Insane Asylum), among others. As if that weren't enough, the horn section featured Tower of Power regulars Greg Adams, Mic Gillette, and Skip Mesquite. The result was a unique combination of heavy funk grooves underlying Davis' gritty, piercing vocals. The standout track on the album, said to be "the classic bad girl anthem and one of the funkiest recordings ever made" was "Anti Love Song", penned by Davis and possibly directed at Miles ("No I don't want to love you / 'Cause I know how you are / Sure you say you're right on and you're righteous / But with me I know you'd be right off / `Cause you know I could possess your body / You know I could make you crawl / And just as hard as I'd fall for you, boy / You know you'd fall for me harder / That's why I don't want to love you")...(
With her giant Afro and space-vixen wardrobe, Davis was the missing evolutionary link between Eartha Kitt and Kelis, but her marvellously feral vocal style falls tantalisingly between 'Nutbush City Limits'-era Tina Turner and AC/DC's Brian Johnson. And while her first album contains her best-known tune - the bittersweet seductress manifesto of "Anti Love Song" - it's 1974's self-produced follow-up that is undoubtedly her finest work.
Classic raw and heavy '70s soul funk rock with serious attitude.

1. If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up
2. Walkin Up the Road
3. Anti Love Song
4. Your Man My Man
5. Ooh Yeah
6. Steppin In Her I. Miller Shoes
7. Game Is My Middle Name
8. In the Meantime
Bonus Tracks
9. Come Take Me (Previously Unreleased, 1974)
10. You Won't See Me In the Morning (Previously Unreleased, 1974)
11. I Will Take That Ride (Previously Unreleased, 1974)

1 comment:

Doug said...

Thanks for this!