Music News

Betty Davis

Listen to the track "Anti Love Song" by Betty Davis here. Music history is packed with people on the periphery of fame, amazingly talented, and/or ahead of their time that never quite ¨make it,¨ defined by achieving stardom and riches. Eccentric model and singer Betty Davis, a former Mrs. Miles Davis, is all of these things, and with the deluxe reissue of her first two albums plus bonus tracks and copious booklet notes, she just might get the recognition due her, albeit 35 years later. Her 1973 debut, Betty Davis, was mos def beyond the pale of the times. Picking up where Sly & the Family Stone left off, it´s an incendiary collage of nasty, churning funk and chunky aggressive rock, with Davis´ raspy, unreservedly salacious singing as the highlight of it all. She comes off like a genetic cross between Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, and P.J. Harvey. Davis´ boldness and in-your-face sexuality makes Courtney Love sound like Enya. Portions of ¨You Won´t See Me in the Morning¨ anticipate the quirky-thorny strut of Talking Heads circa Remain in Light. Her relationships with Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, and Hugh Masekela are evident in her style. Sadly, even the more eclectic airwaves of the early 1970s were not ready for her, and she suffered boycotts because of her brazen attitude. Her ´74 follow-up, They Say I´m Different, was a tad more funk-oriented -- imagine a femme-fronted Funkadelic circa Maggot Brain/Free Your Mind -- and even more assertive regarding women´s love rights. Even a passing listen to ¨Don´t Call Her No Tramp¨ and ¨He Was a Big Freak¨ (¨I usta beat him with a turquoise chain!¨) will attest to that. All hail Queen Betty Davis, leader of S&M funk.
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Mark Keresman