Sunday, April 5, 2015

D is for Betty (D)avis, Death, & Danielia Cotton

Betty Mabry  Davis is described as a "flamboyant funk singer of the 1970s"( ~John Bush~, she mixed funk, soul and rock together that was very popular at the time. She was known for her eclectic, out of this world style and her in your face sexuality and wild woman attitude, which was loved and hated by some. She was born Betty Mabry on July 26th, 1945 in North Carolina. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania and moved to New York during the early 60s. Where she wrote "Uptown" for the Chamber Brothers and where she met Miles Davis and they wed in the summer of 1968 but ended up divorcing in 1969; according to Miles Davis cited in his autobiography that she was "too young and wild for him" and also that she had possibly had an affair with Jimi Hendrix, yet Betty denied it.   Betty Davis went on to release her first self titled album in 1973 which didn't take off and was met with much criticism and led to religious groups protesting her music due to it's sexual and in your face content. Although she didn't make quite the impact as other acts around at the time like Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner, etc... she released two more albums but they also garnered little success. After the year 1979 she left the music scene and didn't return, however she left her mark on history and was remembered for her outrageous, in your face personality and futuristic fashion sense. 
  Listening to her music, I can't really understand why she didn't take off but I really think it had a lot to do with her being ahead of her time and the fact that she had this I don't give a shit attitude; I, on the other hand dig it and I love it. I feel like women, especially black women are told and perhaps even back then were told that we couldn't rock out like the guys and when black women present their sexuality we usually are likened to stereotypes such as the Sapphire or Jezebel, which sucks and is bullshit. I commend Ms. Betty Davis; I commend her for daring to be outrageous, forward thinking and a wild woman and hell for daring to be different, so I pay homage to her by remembering her and sharing a piece of story with you in the hopes that you will check her out!

Death is a "Protopunk" band founded in 1971, made up of three brothers by the names of David Hackney who played the guitar, Dannis Hackney who played the drums and Bobby Hackney who played bass and did the vocals. They are even celebrated as creating the Punk sound. Hailing from Detriot, Michigan. They used their music to bring light to the political issues that black people faced during that era. They released their first single titled "Politicians In My Eyes" and "Keep on Knocking" in 1976 by Tryangle Records and was reisued in 2013 by Drafthouse Films.
   Their music never took off, because record companies didn't know how to market them. This led to them disbanding in 1977. One of the brothers, David Hackney passed away in the year 2000 due to lung cancer. The remaining two brothers got back together in 2009 and much awaited a record label by the name of Drag City released their seven songs from 1975 into an album by the title "For the World To See". 
    The brothers went on to do shows with Bobbie Duncan playing guitar for the band. They began to get the attention they deserved when one of their songs was featured in an episode of the TV show How I Met Your Mother. They released an album in 2011 titled "Spiritual, Mental, Physical" and had their song off the album, titled "You're A Prisoner" used in the film "Kill The Irishman",  this also led to a documentary being made to honor them and tell their story. Titled "A Band Called Death" ( I will definitely be looking for this) which was directed by Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino in 2012; finally they were given the recognition they deserved.

Danielia Cotton is an rock artist, singer, songwriter and guitarist. She was born on September 24th, 1967 in Hopewell, New Jersey. She was inspired by her mother and aunts who were jazz vocalist and grew up singing and listening to a wide range of music minus hip hop and R&B, she began listening to acts like AC/DC, Judas Priest and Led Zeppelin. Cotton hates being compared to other artist but she was quickly likened to legends like Tina Turner, Janis Joplin and rock band The Rolling Stones. 
    She moved to Manhattan and learned to play the electric guitar where she began to get gigs and eventually led to her releasing her first album titled "Small White Town" in 2005, a nod to the small town of Hopewell where she was among the only black kids who grew up there. She went on to release two more albums, "Rare Child" in 2008 and "The Gun In Your Hand" in 2012. She also released two EPs , which she became popular in the indie music scene and also gained her a great fan base. Today, she continues to tour and make music; her most recent album titled "The Real Book" was released in 2014 and one of her songs (Let It Ride) was used in an episode of the hit TV show Sons of Anarchy.
 I am in love with her voice; I definitely plan on buying her albums and following her, for more on Danielia Cotton's story and music check the links below :!/page_home



  1. I haven't heard of any of these entertainers. But that's what's so great about A to Z. A chance expand out horizons and see talent and stories we've missed all these years.

  2. This is great. I have not a quite a few of these entertainers too. You are very dedicated in this A-Z challenge and look forward to seeing the rest of the alphabet!

  3. Wow, that was really interesting, and all completely new information to me! Thanks for a really great A to Z post :)