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Funk - Paru le 1 janvier 1973 | Light In The Attic

Distinctions Discothèque Idéale Qobuz
Betty Davis' debut was an outstanding funk record, driven by her aggressive, no-nonsense songs and a set of howling performances from a crack band. Listeners wouldn't know it from the song's title, but for the opener, "If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up," Davis certainly doesn't play the wallflower; she's a woman on the prowl, positively luring the men in and, best of all, explaining exactly how she does it: "I said I'm wigglin' my fanny, I'm raunchy dancing, I'm-a-doing it doing it/This is my night out." "Game Is My Middle Name" begins at a midtempo lope, but really breaks through on the chorus, with the Pointer Sisters and Sylvester backing up each of her assertions. As overwhelming as Davis' performances are, it's as much the backing group as Davis herself that makes her material so powerful (and believable). Reams of underground cred allowed her to recruit one of the tightest rhythm sections ever heard on record (bassist Larry Graham and drummer Greg Errico, both veterans of Sly & the Family Stone), plus fellow San Francisco luminaries like master keyboardist Merl Saunders and guitarists Neal Schon or Douglas Rodriguez (both associated with Santana at the time). Graham's popping bass and the raw, flamboyant, hooky guitar lines of Schon or Rodriguez make the perfect accompaniment to these songs; Graham's slinky bass is the instrumental equivalent of Davis' vocal gymnastics, and Rodriguez makes his guitar scream during "Your Man My Man." It's hard to tell whether the musicians are pushing so hard because of Davis' performances or if they're egging each other on, but it's an unnecessary question. Everything about Betty Davis' self-titled debut album speaks to Davis the lean-and-mean sexual predator, from songs to performance to backing, and so much the better for it. All of which should've been expected from the woman who was too wild for Miles Davis. © John Bush /TiVo
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Funk - Paru le 1 janvier 1974 | Light In The Attic

Betty Davis' second full-length featured a similar set of songs as her debut, though with Davis herself in the production chair and a radically different lineup. The openers, "Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him" and "He Was a Big Freak," are big, blowsy tunes with stop-start funk rhythms and Davis in her usual persona as the aggressive sexual predator. On the title track, she reminisces about her childhood and compares herself to kindred spirits of the past, a succession of blues legends she holds fond -- including special time for Bessie Smith, Chuck Berry, and Robert Johnson. A pair of unknowns, guitarist Cordell Dudley and bassist Larry Johnson, do a fair job of replacing the stars from her first record. As a result, They Say I'm Different is more keyboard-dominated than her debut, with prominent electric piano, clavinet, and organ from Merl Saunders, Hershall Kennedy, and Tony Vaughn. The material was even more extreme than on her debut; "He Was a Big Freak" featured a prominent bondage theme, while "Your Mama Wants Ya Back" and "Don't Call Her No Tramp" dealt with prostitution, or at least inferred it. With the exception of the two openers, though, They Say I'm Different lacked the excellent songs and strong playing of her debut; an explosive and outré record, but more a variation on the same theme she'd explored before. © John Bush /TiVo
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R&B - Paru le 1 janvier 1975 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Funk - Paru le 22 septembre 2009 | Light In The Attic

Whatever the reason that Betty Davis' Is It Love or Desire -- also known as Crashin' from Passion -- remained unreleased until 2009 no longer matters. Davis remembers a personal rift with Island's Chris Blackwell. Studio In the Country manager Jim Bateman (in Bogalusa, LA) claims the studio was never paid and therefore refused to release the masters to Island, etc. It makes no difference, because hearing this album, a ten-song set that was to be Davis' and Funk House's final recording, is a revelation. (In 1976, funk was slowly giving way to the popularity of disco). Hindsight is 20/20, but had this album been released at the time, things might indeed have been different. Musically, Is It Love or Desire is so forward and so complete, it moves the entire genre toward a new margin. It is as groundbreaking in its way as the music Ornette Coleman was making with Prime Time à la Dancing in Your Head, and the blunt-edged fractured jazz-funk James Blood Ulmer laid down on his own a couple of years later on Tales of Captain Black and Are You Glad to Be in America?. The songwriting is top notch; some of it transcends the proto-sexual excesses of her earlier records though that's still in this wild mix, too. The production is so canny, it seems to get at the very essences of singers, songs, and musical arrangements, and then there's the music itself created by Funk House, one of the most amazing funk bands in the history of music. Being Davis' road and studio band had gelled the unit, which also practiced when they weren't working with her in a practice space at home in North Carolina. Check the dark voodoo-groove bassline Larry Johnson plays on "It's So Good," with Carlos Morales guitar filling the spaces with spidery, silvery lines, and the machine-gun snare groove laid down by drummer Semmie Neal, Jr with breaks and pops that underscore the outrageous distorted keyboards of Fred Mills, the band's music director. Speaking of Mills, his duet vocal on "Whorey Angel,"a spooky, psychedelic soul number that is far better than its title, is scary good. Check out the gris-gris choruses by Davis and her backing chorus with all that bass leading the entire band in its slow, backbone-slipping attack. The sheer sonic attack of "Bottom of the Barrel," may be country in its lyric intro, but the music is diamond-hard funk that makes no secret of its-anti disco sentiment. The ballad on the set, "When Romance Says Goodbye," is a steamy, sultry jazz noir number that gives the listener an entirely new aural portrait of Davis - Mills' piano work on the tune, with its sparse chords and spacious approach, gives Davis' natural singing voice -- rather than her sexual growl -- plenty of room to shine here. There's a bluesy number in &"Let's Get Personal," and a strutting rutting, gutter anthem in "Bar Hoppin' with some in excellent interplay between Mills' synth and Morales' guitar. The final track, a nocturnal, midtempo sexy number called "For My Man," features the violin talent of Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, to boot. It's easy to say that this the best thing Davis ever cut, especially when a record has existed in mythology for as long as this one has, but that makes it no less true. Many thanks to the Light in the Attic imprint for bringing Is It Love or Desire out of the realm of myth and the dustbin of history, and into the hands of music fans. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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R&B - Paru le 16 décembre 2016 | Columbia - Legacy

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Diction - Paru le 10 décembre 2012 | Betty Davis