Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Review

Betty Davis: ‘The Columbia Years 1968-1969’ Light In The Attic

Betty Davis CD cover pic

5

6.0

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UK release date 01.07.2016

Way before Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim and Macy Gray came outrageous funk and soul Diva Betty Mabry. Model, songwriter, singer and fashion icon.

She became Davis at 23, when she married jazz legend Miles Davis. It lasted a year.

The “lost” 1969 sessions co-produced by Miles, four years before her debut album, planted the seeds for his iconic Bitches Brew.

Of the nine tracks here, three are from that legendary session, two previously unreleased. Performances from Billy Cox Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Mitch Mitchell, Wayne Shorter, Hugh Masekela and members of The Jazz Crusaders.

“Hangin’ Out,” sits on an unrelenting guitar and organ riff. Cream’s “Politician,” (“Politician Man,” here) is dark and menacing. Ike and Tina territory on “Down Home Girl.” Credence Clearwater track “Born On The Bayou,” features flat vocals.

Two takes of mediocre cut, “I’m Ready, Willing & Able.” (Take 1 & Take 9)” “It’s My Life (Alternate Take)” dump the horns and you’ve got Northern Soul.

String-soaked “Live, Love, Learn,” with subdued vocals. Closer, “My Soul Is Tired,” chugging guitar and her trademark “attitude” vocal on a decent R&B track.

Demo quality and instantly forgettable material. Sounds like her heart just wasn’t in it at all.
Words SIMON REDLEY

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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