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BETTY DAVIS

Betty Davis

Nasty Gal - 2024 Reissue

    In the 1970s, Betty Davis defied genre and gender by pushing her voice to extremes and embracing the erotic. She articulated a kind of pre–punk, funk–blues fusion that had yet to be normalized in mainstream music — a style that few musicians have come close to replicating. As one of the first Black women to write, arrange, and produce her own albums, Betty was a visionary who disregarded industry boundaries and constraints. Raw, unapologetic, and in full control, Betty paved the way for generations of future artists who said ‘funk you’ to the music industry and social norms.

    In 1975, Betty Davis’s star was on the rise. With the backing of Island Records and a new band, Funk House, Betty’s third album, Nasty Gal, leans into the hyper-sexualized persona with which her critics were so obsessed. She raps, purrs, shrieks, and moans on top of Funk House’s manic funk-rock and lays claim to the “bad girl” anthems that now saturate the music industry. Mastered from the original tapes, Nasty Gal showcases Betty’s groundbreaking work as a performer, writer, and producer.


    TRACK LISTING

    Nasty Gal
    Talkin Trash
    Dedicated To The Press
    You And I
    Feelins
    F.u.n.k.
    Gettin Kicked Off, Havin Fun
    Shut Off The Light
    This Is It!
    The Lone Ranger

    Betty Davis

    Crashin’ From Passion - 2023 Reissue

      In the 1970s, Betty Davis defied genre and gender by pushing her voice to extremes and embracing the erotic. She articulated a kind of pre-punk, funk-blues fusion that had yet to be normalized in mainstream music – a style that few musicians have come close to replicating. As one of the first Black women to write, arrange, and produce her own albums, Betty was a visionary who disregarded industry boundaries and constraints. Raw, unapologetic and in full control, Betty paved the way for generations of future artists who said “funk you” to the music industry and social norms.

      In 1979, when Davis entered an L.A. studio to record her fifth and final album, she was reeling from a series of setbacks. Three years earlier, after recording her fourth album, Is It Love Or Desire, Davis was dropped from her label and the LP was subsequently shelved. In 1978, her beloved band Funk House went their separate ways. Looking for a fresh start, Davis relocated to Hollywood to focus on songwriting. Before long, British manager Simon Lait (Toni Basil), offered to fund her next project.

      With renewed vigor, Davis reunited with former Funk House guitarist Carlos Morales and brought together industry veterans like fusion drummer Alphonse Mouzon and session bassist Chuck Rainey. Old friends Anita and Bonnie Pointer (The Pointer Sisters) and Patryce “Choc’let” Banks joined Davis on vocals, as did Motown legend Martha Reeves. The resulting album, Crashin’ From Passion, was her most musically diverse, blending elements of reggae and calypso (“I’ve Danced Before”), jazz (“Hangin’ Out in Hollywood,” “Tell Me a Few Things”), dark synth-pop (“She’s a Woman”), and even disco (“All I Do Is Think of You”). Equally exploratory are Davis’ vocals, as she trades in her signature sass and snarls for more nuanced stylings.
      Among the album’s few funk tracks is “Quintessence of Hip,” in which Davis hails musicians like Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, and John Coltrane, while deftly integrating elements of their work. The song also offers a moment of stark vulnerability, as she sings, “Isn’t rich? Isn’t it queer? Losing my timing so late in my career.” It would prove to be a prophetic line in the months to follow.

      The mixing process was mired by artistic differences and then cut short, amid the death of Davis’ beloved father. Bereft and exasperated, Davis returned home for the funeral, setting into motion her retirement from the music industry. Crashin’ From Passion, meanwhile, would be shelved for 15 years and licensed for a CD-only release, without Davis’ consent, in the ‘90s. This 2023 edition of the album, made with Davis’ full approval and cooperation, marks its first official release and first time ever on vinyl. The package was designed by GRAMMY®-winning artist, Masaki Koike, while the album cover features an incredible shot of Betty captured in London in the mid-1970s by renowned photographer Kate Simon.

      Crashin’ From Passion was remastered by Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters and pressed on vinyl at Record Technology, Inc. (RTI). The accompanying booklet includes a treasure trove of rare photos from the era, plus lyrics, and new liner notes by writer, ethnomusicologist, and Betty’s close friend, Danielle Maggio, who integrates interviews that she conducted with Davis, marking her last ever interviews.


      TRACK LISTING

      Quintessence Of Hip
      She's A Woman
      No Good At Falling In Love
      Tell Me A Few Things
      I've Danced Before
      You Make Me Feel So Good
      I Need A Whole Lot Of Love
      Hangin' Out In Hollywood
      All I Do Is Think Of You
      Crashin' From Passion
      You Take Me For Granted

      One can hardly imagine the genre-busting, culture-crossing musical magic of Outkast, Prince, Erykah Badu, Rick James, The Roots, or even the early Red Hot Chili Peppers without the influence of R&B pioneer Betty Davis. Her style of raw and revelatory punk-funk defies any notions that women can’t be visionaries in the worlds of rock and pop. In recent years, rappers from Ice Cube to Talib Kweli to Ludacris have rhymed over her intensely strong but sensual music.

      There is one testimonial about Betty Davis that is universal: she was a woman ahead of her time. In our contemporary moment, this may not be as self-evident as it was thirty years ago – we live in an age that’s been profoundly changed by flamboyant flaunting of female sexuality: from Parlet to Madonna, Lil Kim to Kelis. Yet, back in 1973 when Betty Davis first showed up in her silver go-go boots, dazzling smile and towering Afro, who could you possibly have compared her to? Marva Whitney had the voice but not the independence. Labelle wouldn’t get sexy with their “Lady Marmalade” for another year while Millie Jackson wasn’t “Feelin’ Bitchy” until 1977. Even Tina Turner, the most obvious predecessor to Betty’s fierce style wasn’t completely out of Ike’s shadow until later in the decade.

      Ms. Davis’s unique story, still sadly mostly unknown, is unlike any other in popular music. Betty wrote the song “Uptown” for the Chambers Brothers before marrying Miles Davis in the late ‘60s, influencing him with psychedelic rock, and introducing him to Jimi Hendrix — personally inspiring the classic album ’Bitches Brew.’

      But her songwriting ability was way ahead of its time as well. Betty not only wrote every song she ever recorded and produced every album after her first, but the young woman penned the tunes that got The Commodores signed to Motown. The Detroit label soon came calling, pitching a Motown songwriting deal, which Betty turned down. Motown wanted to own everything. Heading to the UK, Marc Bolan of T. Rex urged the creative dynamo to start writing for herself. A common thread throughout Betty’s career would be her unbending Do-It-Yourself ethic, which made her quickly turn down anyone who didn’t fit with the vision. She would eventually say no to Eric Clapton as her album producer, seeing him as too banal.

      In 1973, Davis would finally kick off her cosmic career with an amazingly progressive hard funk and sweet soul self-titled debut. Davis showcased her fiercely unique talent and features such gems as “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up” and “Game Is My Middle Name.” The album Betty Davis was recorded with Sly & The Family Stone’s rhythm section, sharply produced by Sly Stone drummer Greg Errico, and featured backing vocals from Sylvester and the Pointer Sisters.

      TRACK LISTING

      If I'm In Luck I Might Get Picked Up 
      Walkin Up The Road 
      Anti Love Song 
      Your Man My Man
      Ooh Yea 
      Steppin In Her I. Miller Shoes 
      Game Is My Middle Name 
      In The Meantime

      Betty Davis

      They Say I'm Different - 2023 Repress

        One can hardly imagine the genre-busting, culture-crossing musical magic of Outkast, Prince, Erykah Badu, Rick James, The Roots, or even the early Red Hot Chili Peppers without the influence of R&B pioneer Betty Davis. Her style of raw and revelatory punk-funk defies any notions that women can’t be visionaries in the worlds of rock and pop. In recent years, rappers from Ice Cube to Talib Kweli to Ludacris have rhymed over her intensely strong but sensual music.

        There is one testimonial about Betty Davis that is universal: she was a woman ahead of her time. In our contemporary moment, this may not be as self-evident as it was thirty years ago – we live in an age that’s been profoundly changed by flamboyant flaunting of female sexuality: from Parlet to Madonna, Lil Kim to Kelis. Yet, back in 1973 when Betty Davis first showed up in her silver go-go boots, dazzling smile and towering Afro, who could you possibly have compared her to? Marva Whitney had the voice but not the independence. Labelle wouldn’t get sexy with their “Lady Marmalade” for another year while Millie Jackson wasn’t Feelin’ Bitchy until 1977. Even Tina Turner, the most obvious predecessor to Betty’s fierce style wasn’t completely out of Ike’s shadow until later in the decade.

        Ms. Davis’s unique story, still sadly mostly unknown, is unlike any other in popular music. Betty wrote the song “Uptown” for the Chambers Brothers before marrying Miles Davis in the late ’60s, influencing him with psychedelic rock, and introducing him to Jimi Hendrix - personally inspiring the classic album 'Bitches Brew'.

        But her songwriting ability was way ahead of its time as well. Betty not only wrote every song she ever recorded and produced every album after her first, but the young woman penned the tunes that got The Commodores signed to Motown. The Detroit label soon came calling, pitching a Motown songwriting deal, which Betty turned down. Motown wanted to own everything. Heading to the UK, Marc Bolan of T. Rex urged the creative dynamo to start writing for herself. A common thread throughout Betty’s career would be her unbending Do-It-Yourself ethic, which made her quickly turn down anyone who didn’t fit with the vision. She would eventually say no to Eric Clapton as her album producer, seeing him as too banal.

        Her 1974 sophomore album 'They Say I’m Different' features a worthy-of-framing futuristic cover challenging David Bowie’s science fiction funk with real rocking soul-fire, kicked off with the savagely sexual “Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him” (later sampled by Ice Cube). Her follow up is full of classic cuts like “Don’t Call Her No Tramp” and the hilarious, hard, deep funk of “He Was A Big Freak.”

        TRACK LISTING

        Shoo-B-Doop And Cop Him 
        He Was A Big Freak 
        Your Mama Wants Ya Back
        Don't Call Her No Tramp 
        Git In There 
        They Say I'm Different 
        70's Blues 
        Special People

        Betty Davis

        Is It Love Or Desire? - 2023 Reissue

          Betty Davis was a musical maverick with vision. Image, substance, sex, and grit combined with a badass band that could deliver the funk bed backbone to the sultry music between the sheets. After cutting two notorious discs for the Just Sunshine label (Betty Davis and They Say I’m Different), and Nasty Gal for Island Records, Davis went to work on her most personal and expressive record yet. After capturing 10 hard-hitting tracks in 1976 at the remote Studio In The Country (Louisiana), a creative difference with her then label caused the platter to be unexpectedly shelved. Davis would cut one final album and soon retreat from the music business, completely disappearing from the public eye.

          Is It Love Or Desire is a little-known gem in the Davis catalog. Mastered from the original tapes, and untouched for over 30 years, this release features detailed liner notes, the originally intended artwork housed in a lavishly packaged digipak, rare photos, archival material, and recent interviews with Davis and her skin-tight band Funk House.

          Never bootlegged, never released, never heard until now, the secret story of this lost album will finally enter the history books and cement this bold soul sisters contributions to music and popular culture. Its time to get down…


          TRACK LISTING

          Is It Love Or Desire
          Whorey Angel
          It's So Good
          Crashin' From Passion
          When Romance Says Goodbye
          Bottom Of The Barrel
          Stars Starve
          You Know
          Let's Get Personal
          Bar Hoppin'
          For My Man


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