Betty fucking Davis.
If Chaka Khan is the queen of funk and George Clinton is its Prime Minister, then Betty is the dominatrix in the basement that ballgags them motherfuckers after the sun sets. Each time she hit the stage she owned her sexuality completely. She grunted, growled, moaned, squealed, and bit until it bled. Unfortunately for Betty, she came about two, three, or possibly four decades too soon. The ’70s just weren’t ready for Betty fucking Davis.
The fact that this name isn’t whispered by millions of drooling and tumescent fans is an insult to everything good about the world. But, let’s be honest here, she also stood in the shadow of a giant, her husband, Miles Davis. Why did this marriage end? Some people, like Miles, said it’s because Betty wanted a taste of that Hendrix pie, so she cut herself a slice. This could totally be true (and probably is) but, according to Betty, that’s not why their marriage ended. “I was so angry with Miles when he wrote that. It was disrespectful to Jimi and to me. Miles and I broke up because of his violent temper.”
Betty posed in photo spreads in magazines like Seventeen, Glamour, and Ebony before meeting Miles at 22. Of course, Miles thought he was top dog but he had never met Betty. After their divorce, Betty and Miles were still friends. Hell, Miles and Hendrix even planned on releasing an album together before he died. One famous day, Miles talked to Betty about this album he wanted to make called Witches Brew. But, guess what, my audiophiliac motherfuckers, Betty changed that shit. She put the bitch in Bitches Brew.
It was difficult to choose between this album and Betty’s next album Nasty Gal. Both of these are fantastic with their rich, raw, and real depiction of sexuality. But there’s an ease to this album that doesn’t occur as often in Nasty Gal. I can feel Betty kick back in that velvet throne of hers as she swirls some rare liquor in a gem-laden chalice and her crown of funk sits just off-centre. She doesn’t need to scream and shout, she wants to. Betty spoke on behalf of all female sexuality way the fuck back when it wasn’t a big deal. “I kissed a girl and liked it”? Please. How about, “I’d get him off with my turquoise chain.” Betty was nasty and loved it. Her message was pure and the train it rode in on was funk. It didn’t take balls to make this album. It took the engorged, thick, and persistent nerve of a young black woman in the early ’70s owning her shit and screaming it out with a raspy grunt, a pelvic thrust, and a slow lick of the lips to make this album. Come have a taste.