BETTY DAVIS
Betty Davis
They Say I'm Different

[Light in the Attic, www.lightintheattic.net]

Reissue of Betty Davis' first two albums from early 70's is high event indeed. With praise spewing from mouths of Miles Davis "If Betty were singing today she would be something like Madonna, something like Prince only as a woman" [it was Betty who introduced Miles to Hendrix], Ice Cube "Betty was a G for real" to Prince Paul of De La Soul who states "Warning: She is pure uncut funk way ahead of her time", you know this is someone who worked hard to garner this much respect. Having inspired Miles' "Bitches Brew", and having turned down a Motown contract, Davis went on a prowl in search of her own way. 1973 marked perfect time for the cat to step into the spotlight. Davis rocks hard on her eponymous debut. There is no doubt, the woman knew precisely what she wanted. Her vision is a complete one. Having backing vocals from Sylvester and Pointer Sisters along with Sly & The Family Stone's rhythm section helps things along. This is Davis at her roughest, meanest and most raunchiest. The opening "If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up" shows the ultra-raw funk that Davis has come to be known for. The rough and ready organ lines, the deep bass and her vocals that stretch out over the track take the listener back to a different dimension all together. The rhythms are nasty and right down grinding. Music comes to a halt and starts all over again. The raspy voice that Davis has is in clear inflection all over the map.
By the time 1974's "They Say I'm Different" rolled around, Davis was slowly becoming a household name amongst those in the know. Every single lyric on the album drips with sexuality. Check out the album's risqué cover to see how Davis was never afraid to render her sexuality something that gave her ultimate power. When she screams on "He Was a Big Freak", she's in full control of the spacecraft. Listen to the anger in her vocals on "Don't Call Her No Tramp". Ferocious beast that can't be stopped rears her head and there's no stopping her now. Equal amount of funk per square inch when put side to side with Funkadelic and James Brown, Davis meant business. Not afraid to flaunt it, her sexual prowess and voice allowed her to take funk into a new dimension. An inspiration to so many, it's really a shame that she is now broke, living in Pittsburgh. Let's hope these first official reissues will in some small way help to get her financial state out of the gutters.

- Tom Sekowski


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