Monday, January 25, 2010

Betty Davis' "Is it love or desire?"

Last month, I ordered a copy of the hard-to-find-but-be-damned-lucky-if-you-do Betty Davis album, "Is It Love or Desire?"
This is going to sound crazy as heck but it is an honor to own and be able to listen to this album.
You see, Betty Davis was a trendsetting risk-taker who was largely ignored by her generation.
She's inspired so many people in different musical genres like Grace Jones, Prince, Madonna, Erykah Badu, Ice Cube and Redman.
Davis is best known for marrying Miles Davis in 1968, but Betty forged her own musical path after divorcing and heavily influencing the legendary Miles.
"Is it Love or Desire" was Davis' fourth album and considered by her band to be some of the best work she made.
The album went unreleased for 33 years until the Seattle-based company Light in the Attic Records reissued it a few years ago.
I'm glad they did.
The album has a very strong rock element percolating throughout it, like Betty's first and third albums, "Betty" and "Nasty Gal," respectively.
Most of the lyrics on "Is it Love or Desire?" are mature.
Typical Betty.
Just look at a few of these song titles: "Whorey Angel," "For My Man," and "It's So Good."
Can't get any more risqué than that.
But the musicianship of Betty and her band is still supreme.
There's a lot of honesty in "When Romance Says Goodbye" and in "Stars Starve, You Know," which I recommend any aspiring entertainer study.
And "Bar Hoppin'" is a comical song about getting drunk.
One of my fave songs is "Bottom of the Barrel," where Betty airs out her dislike for disco music. The song has a smooth bass line and other soaring instrumentals that compliment Betty's husky voice.
Overall, this is another gem for Betty.
"Is it Love or Desire?" is a lesson in originality, love and life.
Excuse the bias, but Betty can do no wrong in my book.
To order the album, visit "Light in the Attic .

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