Rough Trade recommends: Betty Davis – The Columbia
Years 1968 – 69

Everyone with an interest in music has heard of Prince, Erykah Badu and The Roots, and most have heard of Outkast and Rick James.

But very few have heard of Betty Davis – but she has influenced all of those, as well as introducing her then husband Miles Davis to the psychedelic sounds of Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix, which directly lead to the classic album Bitches Brew and the subsequent jazz fusion explosion.

She released three albums of her own, the best, and last, being Nasty Gal from 1975 – a real low down proto feminist sexfunk masterpiece, and then an unreleased album came out a few years ago, and that was it. Until this week. When out of nowhere came this  release which features a pair of 1969 sessions recorded at Columbia’s 52nd Street Studios on May 14 and produced by Miles Davis and Teo Macero.


Featuring Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, John McLaughlin, Jimi Hendrix’s drummer Mitch Mitchell and more, they mark some of the musicians’ first experimentations with psychedelic fusion. The recordings include unreleased covers of Cream and Creedence Clearwater Revival. The release also pulls from 1968 sessions done in Los Angeles at a Columbia featuring Hugh Masekela and members of the Crusaders.

All tracks previously unreleased (except track 8) and remastered from the original analog master tapes and the booklet contains new interviews, rare photos, and unseen historical documents from the Teo Macero archive.

Nigel House, founder Rough Trade record shops

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