Betty Davis Betty Davis /They Say I'm Different

The best way to write about ’70s funk pioneer Betty Davis is to get right into the songs on her self-titled debut, Betty Davis (1973) and her sophomore album, They Say I’m Different (1974); Light In Attic is reissuing both. "Anti Love Song,” "Your Man My Man” and "Game Is My Middle Name” typify the blistering acid funk, peppered with sexually assertive lyrics, that defines the sound of her first release. Davis’s vocal style swings from bluesy screams to sultry moans, which perfectly suit the raw intensity of these songs. Some of these tunes channel Hendrix’s funkier side or sound like Funkadelic on estrogen shots, but it’s Sly & the Family Stone’s psychedelic soul that drives this music. Her follow-up release, They Say I’m Different, was a more eclectic affair. "Shoo-B Doop and Cop Him” is funky fusion on the jazz tip featuring Davis scatting around the beat. "Git In There” rocks a proto-disco groove filtered through layers of wah-wah guitar licks and Davis’s raspy shouts. However, it’s the blues that inform her second album, demonstrated by "70’s Blues” and "They Say I’m Different,” particularly, where Davis name checks Big Mama Thornton, Lighting Slim and other blues giants over a funky country blues shuffle. Light In The Attic has done a fine job re-releasing these records. They feature the original album artwork, a 32-page booklet with great liner notes and three bonus tracks on the Betty Davis album. The real selling point here, however, is the excellent sound quality, the result of a skilled remastering job from the original tapes. These two classics are highly recommended. (Light In The Attic)