NEW - Betty Davis, Nasty Gal LP
Once you’ve heard Betty Davis’ astounding vocal power, lyrical frankness and heavy, heavy funk on record, it’s exceptionally difficult to listen to anything in the same way again. Whether it's the throat-shredding vocal and lyrical intensity of Kelis’ brutal debut track (‘Caught Out There’) or Erykah Badu’s reluctance to follow the path most-travelled I'm faced with, my thoughts immediately turn to Davis’ role in kicking down doors that were designed to prevent mould-breaking black female artists from reaching much wider audiences.
Once you’ve been confronted by the dazzlingly stylish and beautiful images beamed direct into your psyche from her album covers, you won’t see things in the same way again. The obtuse, devil-may-care attitude of Grace Jones, Millie Jackson’s sexual musings delivered in a proto rap style and the confrontational, tabloid baiting sexual provocation provided by Madonna, can all find some inspiration in the style and attitude that Betty Davis served up to a mostly bewildered world in the 1970s.
Those that dwell at the apex of today’s pop music pyramid, in the rarefied air of superstardom, (Rihanna, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj) can present a swaggering, emboldened and empowering sexuality partially as a result of the strides that Betty Davis made in confusing and confounding the music business and music fans alike some four decades ago