Monday, March 22, 2010

Dirty Funk and Heaven's Butterflies

I've been listening to a number of ladies of soul, R&B and (most importantly) funk from the 1970s. Two have been in heavy rotation.

No one defines dirty funk better than Betty Davis, a woman who never got the praise she deserved even back in her hey day. Compared to Betty Davis, the likes of L'il Kim sound like Marie Osmond. Nearly 40 years on, the dirty, down and ready funk of Betty is still a force to be reckoned with. Though "The Lone Ranger" and "They Say I'm Different" are two of my favorites of Betty's, I offer this little ditty instead.

Betty, for those who don't know, got her last name from her brief marriage to Miles Davis and is credited with introducing him to the sounds of Sly and the Family Stone and having played a role in his transformation that bred "Bitches Brew".

Somewhat related is Mary McCreary who was once a part of the Family Stone but is probably best known as Mrs. Leon Russell and collaborated on one of my favorite guilty pleasures of the late 1970s, "Rainbow in Your Eyes" from "The Wedding Album". The cover art to Leon and Mary's follow-up has to be an image that is high on the scale of regretable photos of the 1970s but fantastic all the same.

Betty, by all reports, came upon hard times after the late 1970s but has been fortunate to have her great records of the three decades back reissued. There have been reports of Mary making a comeback and still somewhere here in her native San Francisco. I hope I have the chance to see her sometime in the future.

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