Betty Barney | I Want to Be a Woman (Single)

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I Want to Be a Woman (Single)

by Betty Barney

A woman's powerful, emotional response to marriage proposal challenges the traditional idea of love and becomes a feminist anthem.
Genre: Pop: New Romantic
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1. I Want to Be a Woman
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Album Notes
This powerful song is one of the last recorded by singer Betty Barney before her untimely death. Although recorded in the 1980s, this is its first release. Written by husband-wife team of Ed Bland (composer) and Mary Batten (lyricist), the song expresses a woman's desire to live on her own terms. For a woman, responding to a marriage proposal is a complex matter. As the song says, "It's not a simple I do." She wants to be a woman before she's a wife. At the same time, she wants the support of her lover, whom she might be willing to marry. The song leaves an opening for the future but doesn't fall into a conventional pop romance stereotype. What emerges is a feminist anthem.

"I Want to be a Woman" is the only song that composer Ed Bland and lyricist Mary Batten wrote together, but the couple collaborated on other projects, including the rap opera "Assassins of the Soul" and feature film script, "Pulling Switches."

During his long career, Bland composed arranged and produced records for a number of companies, including Vanguard, where he was executive producer during the 1970s. While at Vanguard, he established a jazz line for the label with Clark Terry, James Moody, Elvin Jones, Bunky Green, and Roland Prince. He also composed, arranged and produced for Columbia Records, Lionel Hampton’s Glad Hamp Records, and GWP Records. In addition to his work in the recording industry, Bland composed and arranged for movies and television, including "A Raisin in the Sun" and "A Soldier’s Story," among others.

Bland’s work was always ahead of his time. In 2000, when he was 80 years old, his composition, “Skunk Juice,” recorded with the Pazant Brothers in the 1970s, was sampled by Beyonce on her single, “Creole.” Around the same time, Fat Boy Slim and Cypress Hill sampled his composition “A Gritty Nitty” on CDs that went platinum. Atari Video Games leased the same piece for its game “Test Drive Unlimited.”

In 1959, Bland produced what has been called the first Hip Hop film, “The Cry of Jazz,” which expressed his sense that the Black American experience was a formal as well as a cultural phenomenon. Kenneth Tynan, critic for the London Observer, called the “Cry” a landmark film, as it was the first film made by Black Americans that challenged the humanity of white Americans. Willard Van Dyke, pre-eminent American film documentarian and head of the Film Division of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, described “The Cry of Jazz” as “the most prophetic film in film history, as it predicted the riots in the 1960s and 70s and gave the basis for them.”

Bland’s works have been performed all over the world and his recordings continue to be available through Ace Records in London, Cambria Music ("Urban Classical: The Music of Ed Bland") in Lomita, California, and Delos Records/Naxos ("Dancing Through the Walls"). His new album, "Urban Funk," is available only through CD Baby. .

Mary Batten is the author of many nature/science books for adults and children, including "Sexual Strategies: How Females Choose Their Mates," "Aliens From Earth," and the e-book "How To Have Sex If You're Not Human." She also scripted many television films and was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the Children's Television Workshop series 3-2-1 CONTACT.



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