Davis, Betty

Band members                          Related acts

- Betty Davis (aka Betty Mabry) -- vocals


  backing musicians (1975)

- Erroll Bennett -- percussion

- Miles Davis -- horns

- Larry Johnson -- bass

- Fred Mills -- vocals, keyboards

- Carlos Morales -- vocals

- Nicky Neal -- drums

- James Allen Smith -- synthesizers

- Buddy Williams -- percussion



d Nicky Neal (drums)

- none known





Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Nasty Gal

Company: Island

Catalog: ILPS-9329

Year: 1975

Country/State: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: includes original lyric inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 133

Price: $35.00



As much as I love the likes of Millie Jackson, Laura Lee, Tina Turner, Betty Wright and others, they simply don't have nothing on Betty Davis ... 


While a number of critics think 1975's "Nasty Gal" is the weakest of Davis' three studio albums, to my ears this is simply the kind of hardcore soul and funk that will scrape the paint off of your walls and send some sensitive folks running for the doors.  Self-produced with Davis writing the majority of the material, If anything, this time around Davis sounded even more pissed off and angry than on the two earlier studio sets.  (Under such circumstance I definitely would not want to run into her in a dark alley.)  Backed by a crack band, material such as the title track, 'Talkin Trash and 'Dedicated To the Press' managed to underscore Davis' don't-mess-with-me image without the outright trashiness that some of her contemporaries lean on.  While her raspy voice and wild child image were simply perfect for this stuff, Davis also got bonus points in that she demonstrates a clear affection for rock and roll.  Anyone doubting that statement need only check out something like 'Shut Off the Light'.  As far as I'm concerned there were only three weak tracks on the album; co-written by ex-husband Miles Davis (I think he provided the horn solo), 'You and I' was a surprisingly bland ballad, while 'F.U.N.K.' was all formula and no content and the closing number 'Lone Ranger' never went anywhere before descending into bad Donna Summer-styled groaning and what sounded like a braying horse.  That left you with seven great tracks and a 70% average wasn't bad for an album.


- Built on a funky Fred Mills mini-moog groove, 'Nasty Girl' showcased Davis in full fury ...   Lyrically the song was actually kind of clever with Davis and Mills engaging in a two way argument.  Wanna take a guess as to who won this one?   With a razor blade edge to her delivery, Davis truly sounded psychotic on this one.   Great opening tune.    rating: **** stars

- Yeah, you probably figured out that lyrically 'Talkin Trash' wasn't going to win any literary awards for Davis.  Still, pity keyboardist/singer Mills having to try to keep up with Davis on this funky, vamping number.  Davis simply ate Mills alive - easy to see his head flying off ...   rating: *** stars

- Opening up with some wonderful Larry Johnson finger popping bass, 'Dedicated To the Press' was a no-holds-barred assault on the fourth estate.   Guess Davis wasn't very happy with some of the articles being written about her behavior ...  "just don't seem to be able to keep my tongue in my mouth folks ..."    rating: **** stars

- Perhaps inspired by former husband Miles Davis ("oh you are a strange one ..."), who also provided musical direction and the horn solo, 'You and I' was a rather conventional ballad.  Almost jarring in its conventionality (especially after the previous three performances), the song was interesting for demonstrating the fact Davis actually had a pretty voice and (if necessary), could easily have matched Diana Ross in the sensitivity sweepstakes.     rating: ** stars

- Side one's toughest performance, 'Feelins' is best described as an aural stew that mixed a hard rock edge with dollops of angry young women (look out Alanis Morissette) and rioting soccer fans.  Simply killer track.   rating: **** stars

- I've always loved the guitar section that opened up 'F.U.N.K." and had to admit that Davis' Cruella Da Vil0 inspired vocal was a hoot.  Unfortunately after a couple of minutes her funk and soul hall of fame roll call became dull and forgettable.    rating: ** stars

- All hyberbole aside, the slinky 'Gettin Kicked Off, Havin Fun' found David trotting out her sexiest Lolita voice.  Great set of lyrics on this one.    rating: **** stars



"Nasty Gal" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Nasty Gal   (Betty Davis) - 4:35

2.) Talkin Trash   (Betty Davis) - 4:40

3.) Dedicated To the Press   (Betty Davis) - 3:40

4.) You and I   (Betty Davis) - 2:45

5.) Feelins   (Betty Davis) - 2:42


(side 2)
1.) F.U.N.K.   (Betty Davis) - 4:20

2.) Gettin Kicked Off, Havin Fun   (Betty Davis) - 3:07

3.) Shut Off the Light   (Betty Davis) - 3:53

4.) This Is It!   (Betty Davis) - 3:25

5.) The Lone Ranger   (Betty Davis) - 6:08