Lost Betty Davis Sessions with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock Unearthed
Published Jun 28, 2016The archives of cult funk persona Betty Davis will once again be celebrated by the rarities lovers at Light in the Attic Records. This time, The Columbia Years 1968-1969 uncovers sessions Davis cut with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and members of Jimi Hendrix's backup band the Experience, among others.
The collection, which came out today (June 28), highlights sessions Betty Davis and then-husband Miles Davis recorded at Columbia Record's 52nd Street Studios in New York on May 14 and 20, 1969. Produced by Miles Davis and Teo Macero, the sessions found the vocalist jamming it out alongside guitarist John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock and Dylan/Miles session bassist Harvey Brooks. Other players during the sessions include Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell, Band of Gypsys bassist Billy Cox, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and organist Larry Young.
The recordings are said to fuse together psychedelic elements of jazz, rock and funk, this happening even before Miles Davis' celebrated Bitches Brew period. The collection brings out a mix of Betty Davis originals and covers of songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival ("Born on the Bayou") and Cream.
Additionally, the release includes material from a 1968 recording session teaming Betty Davis with Hugh Masekela and members of the Crusaders. Out of this, an alternate take of "It's My Life" appears on the release, as well as the already issued run-through of "Live, Love, Learn."
You can check out an album trailer for The Columbia Years 1968-1969, as well as its tracklisting, down below. You can order the release here.
In 2009, Light in the Attic repressed three early '70s albums: Betty Davis, They Say I'm Different and Nasty Gal. That same year, they also released the first pressing of lost album Is It Love or Desire, which had been recorded back in 1976.
In related news, the Davis-focused Nasty Gal: The Many Lives of Funk Queen Betty Davis documentary is still in the works, and is expected to be premiered in 2017. You can find out more info on Phil Cox and Damon Smith's film, which was made in cooperation with Davis, over here.
The Columbia Years 1968-1969:
1. Hangin' Out
2. Politician Man
3. Down Home Girl (Take 4)
4. Born on the Bayou
5. I'm Ready, Willing & Able (Take 1)
6. I'm Ready, Willing & Able (Take 9)
7. It's My Life (Take 8)
8. Live, Love, Learn (Take 12)
9. My Soul Is Tired (Take 9)