Reissues

Reissues

Betty Davis

(Light in the Attic)

Betty Davis

They Say I'm Different (Light in the Attic)

Hell yes she was different. She couldn't help it. Thankfully, Seattle-based Light in the Attic Records has had the good sense to re-release soul sister Betty Mabry Davis' first two albums. An accidental feminist, her frank, unrestrained lyrics capture the zeitgeist, as we see on the North Carolina-born/Pittsburgh-raised singer's 1973 debut, which features her in hot pants and silver knee-high boots. Bookended with the bass-fed tease of "If I'm in Luck I Might Get Picked Up" and the pavement-melting slink of bonus track "I Will Take That Ride," Betty Davis was part funk, part soul, all fire. Having former Sly & the Family Stone drummer Greg Errico twiddling knobs and Neal Schon on guitar didn't hurt. Even so, it's all about 1974's They Say I'm Different, appended with four unreleased tracks. Davis took over as producer and arranger, allowing for a more provocative groove. The album proved prescient: "Git in There," with its funky, gunky bassline, was a hip-hop prototype, and "Don't Call Her No Tramp" preceded the riot grrrl movement by two decades. On "He Was a Big Freak," she tells of beating a lover (reportedly Jimi Hendrix) with a "turquoise chain." Damn. The repackaging is tight and slick on both, housing accompanying booklets and liner notes by hip-hop scribe Oliver Wang and photos – even a few of Betty with ex-husband Miles Davis. Betty proved too freaky for Miles, as some of the first words we hear on They Say I'm Different attest: "Gals, I can't help myself."

(Betty Davis) ***.5

(They Say I'm Different) ****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Audra Schroeder
SXSW Interactive Conference Quick Cuts
The Signal & the Noise
Statistician Nate Silver on more data, more problems

March 15, 2013

SXSW Film
SXSW Film Reviews: 'Kiss of the Damned'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

March 15, 2013

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle