smart sex (listening, day 5 – part 4)

Betty Davis is everything it’s cracked up to be, and more.

The album (original issue – 1973) captures a young and original voice, former wife of Miles, working the line between blues and funk.

From reading the excellent liner notes, I learned that even though there was a gauze of sex about Davis, (the lead off song on the album is “If I’m In Luck, I might Get Picked Up), she was ferociously independent – and her music is more about that independence than anything else. Whatever this sort of lyrical excess caused in the long run, this specific case feels like the opposite of the (big word alert) objectification of the last decade, in which women have been encouraged to celebrate their inner slut/porn star.

Not that she’s opposed to a good time, which the band provides in abundance. The liners explain that the cream of San Francisco’s musicians played on it, and they produce an effortless funk rock, with lots of neat little details.

Her voice is not a great voice, but it’s perfect for where she’s going, something she determined herself by writing all the songs she recorded.

Anyway, this is much, much more than a relic of an era.

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