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18 Sep 2016

Betty Davis “ They Say I’m Different “ 1974 US Soul Funk,Blues Rock second album

Betty Davis “ They Say I’m Different “ 1974 US Soul Funk,Blues Rock  second album
Betty Davis’ 1974 sophomore album and its futuristic cover challenged David Bowie’s science fiction funk with real rocking soul-fire, kicked off with the savagely sexual “Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him” which was later sampled by Ice Cube. The follow-up to her 1973 self-titled debut, the release is full of classic cuts like “Don’t Call Her No Tramp” and the hilarious, hard, deep funk of “He Was A Big Freak.” …

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….by allmusc… 
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) …..
Something like Madonna, something like Prince. She was the beginning of all that…’ So wrote Miles Davis of the one-woman erotic Swat team whose amazing first two albums - the long-lost libidinal high-water marks of early Seventies funk - have just been reissued in appropriately seductive packages. And Miles should have known. He was (briefly) married to her, after all.

Whether or not songwriter-turned-model-turned-DJ-turned muse-turned-low-down-dirty-funk-auteur Betty Davis (nee Mabry) did in fact - as legend has it - break the trumpet deity’s heart by running off with Jimi Hendrix (some say it was actually Hugh Masekela), she certainly lived a full life. And the musical legacy of the woman whose former husband would later unchivalrously immortalise her as ‘Back Seat Betty’ was every bit as dramatic as her eventful private life.

She penned 'Uptown (to Harlem)’ for the Chambers Brothers in 1967; provided the impetus for Miles’s spectacularly productive death-metal deviations of the late Sixties and early Seventies; and wrote the demos that got the Commodores signed to Motown. So by the time Davis finally got the chance to make a record of her own, she was well prepared. With an all-star backing band assembled by Sly and the Family Stone drummer Greg Errico behind her (among them Larry Graham on bass and Sylvester on backing vocals), Davis’s self-titled 1973 debut bursts into life with the alley cat’s mating call of 'If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up’, and doesn’t let up until everyone is exhausted.

With her giant Afro and space-vixen wardrobe, Davis was the missing evolutionary link between Eartha Kitt and Kelis, but her marvellously feral vocal style falls tantalisingly between 'Nutbush City Limits’-era Tina Turner and AC/DC’s Brian Johnson. And while her first album contains her best-known tune - the bittersweet seductress manifesto of 'Anti Love Song’ - it’s 1974’s self-produced follow-up that is undoubtedly her finest work.

From the electrifying opener, 'Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him’, through the S&M classic 'He Was a Big Freak’ ('Pain was his middle name… I used to whip him with my turquoise chain’) to the Beefheart-style title track, They Say I’m Different was so far ahead of its time, it’s taken the world 33 years to get ready for it. But with a fashion sense to give Beyonce’s mum nightmares, and lyrics to make Lil’ Kim blush, 21st-century funk diva Betty Davis is finally ready for her close-up. ….
1. Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him
2. He Was a Big Freak
3. Your Mama Wants Ya Back
4. Don’t Call Her No Tramp
5. Git In There
6. They Say I’m Different
7. 70’s Blues
8. Special People 

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