Betty Davis – 1973 – Betty Davis
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Review by Soulmakossa
Rip, posting and additional info’s by Nikos
You have not heard funk until you’ve heard the albums of Ms. Betty Davis. Yes, she was once married to Miles Davis — but she’s so much more than that. After listening to her albums your perceptions of music will change, and, quite frankly, everything you listen to after will seem just a little bit boring in comparison. This self-titled album was her first and, for my money, her absolute best. They Say I’m Different is a close second.
The best song on this album, and my personal favorite Betty Davis song, is “If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up“. I’d be hard pressed to name a sexier, sleazier groove. My second favorite is “In the Meantime“, a sweet (yet cold, if you listen to the lyrics) ballad that really shows the range of her talent. “Steppin in Her I. Miller Shoes“, “Walkin Up the Road“, “Ooh Yea“, and “Anti-Love Song” are just more of the classics on this album that will leave you wanting more. I promise that after buying this album, you will want to buy the rest of them, too.
I consider it criminal that Betty Davis is not better known in the world of music. She was doing stuff in the early 70s that most female singers weren’t interested in at the time — pushing envelopes, exuding sex on the stage and in the studio, and being nasty in the best way. Comparisons to Prince and Madonna are not unwarranted. Ms. Davis laid the groundwork for these talented, controversial artists, and then she left the business in the late 70s because the music industry was not appreciative of her efforts. It’s a shame that no known footage exists of her concerts, because by all accounts they were really quite something.
A1 If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up 5:00
A2 Walkin Up The Road 4:31
A3 Anti Love Song 3:08
A4 Your Man My Man 5:12
B1 Ooh Yea 2:55
B2 Steppin In Her I. Miller Shoes 3:39
B3 Game Is My Middle Name 3:14
B4 In The Meantime 2:43
Betty Davis was the undisputed Queen of Funk… Funk in its rawest, filthiest, grittiest form. She had turned her short-time husband Miles Davis onto funk and rock in 1969, and bust loose on her own four years later.
Having secured a stellar rhythm section by signing on Sly & The Family Stone’s bassist Larry Graham and drummer Greg Errico, her self-titled debut album is an explosive, dangerous stew of voodoo funk and volcano rock.
Betty’s rasping, almost screeching voice – she was no chanteuse, to be sure – immediately grabs at your throat on the gutbucket strutter “If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up“, where incessant, distorted guitar riffs try to keep up with her volume.
Diving head on into the swamps on “Walking Up the Road” (with a guitar pattern reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”), Davis re-enforces her bad girl credentials with the lurching “Anti Love Song”… check out Larry’s thick chops here!
Graham’s also the star on the hyper funky, wah wah’d sleaze of “Your Man My Man“, and he even pitches in his low-end bass vocal on the rock hard “Oooh Yeah“.
Boogie funk & rollin’ through “Steppin in Her I. Miller Shoes“, the nastayest of all funk is reserved for the scandalous “Game Is My Middle Name“, a mammoth groove set to stuttering bass licks and scratching guitars.
The strangely subdued “In the Meantime” may have been thrown in on the end as a sort of ‘cooling down’; Betty sounds at her most mellow here, as far as that is possible.
Uncut, raw, hideously un-embellished primordial funk…