I was turned onto this record by a friend who knew what kind of records I dug for. From the first time I dropped the needle on this female funk/rock bomb from Betty Davis, I knew he was right. (The Just Sunshine label wasn’t too shabby either). Backed up by the rhytym section from Sly and the Family Stone, including Larry Graham on bass, and produced by the drummer Greg Errico, Davis is taking all prisoners upon her arrival on this 1973 track. She is here, a strong black woman, telling you what the deal is Jack. Close your eyes and you might mistake this for a Sly track until her vocals kick in. The oh so dirty organ of Merl Saunders coupled with the guitars of Neil Schon(of Journey fame) and Douglas Rodriguez (both associated with Santana at the time) lay down a wall of screaming sound. Davis’s voice oozes sexuality, and lines like: “I’m raunchy dancing”, and “I’m-a-doing it doing it and I’m-a-movin’ it movin’ it” (awwwwwww get down!) reinforce the fact that she is in control. This is her night out fellas. She even taunts the lucky? guy who will take her home: “Don’t pass out”. This is 1973 people, a lot of turmoil going on in this country, and an attitude like Davis had, wasn’t well received. Her songs were too rock for black radio, too out there for white radio, but she pressed on, forging a path into funk history that has made an impact on many artists today.
Crazy, nasty, and wild are words she used to describe herself, and that wasn’t far from the truth. This bold soul sister was all three, and America definitely wasn’t ready for her. She got her start by writing the song “Uptown” by the Chambers Brothers, then writing songs for the Commodores, which eventually got them signed. She was then offered a record contract by Motown, and refused it. Hell, she even refused Eric Clapton as a producer. This is some evidence of her DIY personality that was present throughout her career. The former model who married Miles Davis (if only for a year), and turned him on to Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, and psychedelic rock, has been said to be the personal inspiration of “Bitches Brew”. Her fashion sense seems like it has influenced every one from Prince, Macy Gray, and even Miles himself. In my humble opinion, there has not been an equal to this sexual funk kitten some 30 years later. From her sound to her look, the woman who was “too young and wild” for Miles Davis , the woman who snarled, cooed, and moaned in just an afro, can not be touched. Keep Diggin’!