JAMES BROWN

Funk / RnB / Jazz Related Soundtracks / Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop / Funk Jazz • United States
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"Soul Brother Number One," "the Godfather of Soul," "the Hardest Working Man in Show Business," "Mr. Dynamite" -- those are mighty titles, but no one can question that James Brown earned them more than any other performer. Other singers were more popular, others were equally skilled, but few other African-American musicians were so influential over the course of popular music. And no other musician, pop or otherwise, put on a more exciting, exhilarating stage show: Brown's performances were marvels of athletic stamina and split-second timing.

Through the gospel-impassioned fury of his vocals and the complex polyrhythms of his beats, Brown was a crucial midwife in not just one, but two revolutions in black American music. He was one of the figures most responsible for turning R&B into soul and he was, most would agree, the figure most responsible for turning soul music into the funk of the late '60s and early
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JAMES BROWN Discography

JAMES BROWN albums / top albums

JAMES BROWN Please Please Please album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Please Please Please
RnB 1958
JAMES BROWN Try Me! (aka The Unbeatable - 16 Hits) album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Try Me! (aka The Unbeatable - 16 Hits)
RnB 1959
JAMES BROWN Think album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Think
RnB 1960
JAMES BROWN The Amazing James Brown (aka Tell Me What You're Gonna Do) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Amazing James Brown (aka Tell Me What You're Gonna Do)
RnB 1961
JAMES BROWN James Brown and His Famous Flames Tour the USA album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown and His Famous Flames Tour the USA
RnB 1962
JAMES BROWN Shout and Shimmy (aka Good, Good, Twistin' With James Brown aka Excitement Cool Tough Pure 0.00 | 0 ratings
Shout and Shimmy (aka Good, Good, Twistin' With James Brown aka Excitement Cool Tough Pure "Mr. Dynamite" aka Excitement)
RnB 1962
JAMES BROWN Prisoner of Love album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Prisoner of Love
RnB 1963
JAMES BROWN Showtime album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Showtime
RnB 1964
JAMES BROWN Grits and Soul album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Grits and Soul
RnB 1964
JAMES BROWN Papa's Got a Brand New Bag album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
RnB 1965
JAMES BROWN Sings Out of Sight album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Sings Out of Sight
RnB 1965
JAMES BROWN James Brown Plays James Brown - Today & Yesterday - James Brown At The Organ album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown Plays James Brown - Today & Yesterday - James Brown At The Organ
RnB 1965
JAMES BROWN Plays New Breed (The Boo-Ga-Loo) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Plays New Breed (The Boo-Ga-Loo)
RnB 1966
JAMES BROWN James Brown Sings Christmas Songs album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown Sings Christmas Songs
RnB 1966
JAMES BROWN The Dynamic album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Dynamic
RnB 1966
JAMES BROWN Handful Of Soul album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Handful Of Soul
RnB 1966
JAMES BROWN James Brown & The Famous Flames : Mighty Instrumental's album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown & The Famous Flames : Mighty Instrumental's
Funk 1966
JAMES BROWN I Got You (I Feel Good) album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
I Got You (I Feel Good)
RnB 1966
JAMES BROWN It's a Man's Man's Man's World album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
It's a Man's Man's Man's World
RnB 1966
JAMES BROWN James Brown & The Famous Flames : Cold Sweat album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown & The Famous Flames : Cold Sweat
Funk 1967
JAMES BROWN James Brown Sings Raw Soul album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown Sings Raw Soul
RnB 1967
JAMES BROWN Plays The Real Thing album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Plays The Real Thing
RnB 1967
JAMES BROWN James Brown Plays Nothing But Soul album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown Plays Nothing But Soul
RnB 1968
JAMES BROWN I Can't Stand Myself When You Touch Me (aka The Godfather Of Soul aka Greatest Hits Vol. 2 aka Mr Soul aka Spotlight On James Brown aka This Is James Brown!) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
I Can't Stand Myself When You Touch Me (aka The Godfather Of Soul aka Greatest Hits Vol. 2 aka Mr Soul aka Spotlight On James Brown aka This Is James Brown!)
RnB 1968
JAMES BROWN Thinking About Little Willie John And A Few Nice Things album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Thinking About Little Willie John And A Few Nice Things
RnB 1968
JAMES BROWN I Got the Feelin' album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
I Got the Feelin'
Funk 1968
JAMES BROWN A Soulful Christmas album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Soulful Christmas
Funk 1968
JAMES BROWN Say It Loud: I'm Black and I'm Proud album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Say It Loud: I'm Black and I'm Proud
Funk 1969
JAMES BROWN Gettin' Down to It album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gettin' Down to It
Funk 1969
JAMES BROWN The Popcorn album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The Popcorn
Funk 1969
JAMES BROWN It's A Mother album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
It's A Mother
Funk 1969
JAMES BROWN It's A New Day - Let A Man Come In album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
It's A New Day - Let A Man Come In
Funk 1970
JAMES BROWN Hey America (aka Hey America It's Christmas) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hey America (aka Hey America It's Christmas)
Funk 1970
JAMES BROWN Soul on Top album cover 3.75 | 2 ratings
Soul on Top
Funk 1970
JAMES BROWN Ain't It Funky album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Ain't It Funky
Funk 1970
JAMES BROWN Hot Pants album cover 3.33 | 3 ratings
Hot Pants
Funk 1971
JAMES BROWN Super Bad album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
Super Bad
RnB 1971
JAMES BROWN Sho Is Funky Down Here album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sho Is Funky Down Here
Funk 1971
JAMES BROWN There It Is album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
There It Is
Funk 1972
JAMES BROWN Get on the Good Foot album cover 3.50 | 3 ratings
Get on the Good Foot
Funk 1972
JAMES BROWN The Payback album cover 4.38 | 4 ratings
The Payback
Funk 1973
JAMES BROWN Black Caesar album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Black Caesar
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1973
JAMES BROWN Slaughter's Big Rip-Off album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Slaughter's Big Rip-Off
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1973
JAMES BROWN Hell album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Hell
Funk 1974
JAMES BROWN Reality album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Reality
Funk 1974
JAMES BROWN Everybody's Doin' the Hustle & Dead on the Double Bump album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Everybody's Doin' the Hustle & Dead on the Double Bump
Funk 1975
JAMES BROWN Hot album cover 2.50 | 2 ratings
Hot
RnB 1975
JAMES BROWN Sex Machine Today album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sex Machine Today
Funk 1975
JAMES BROWN Get Up Offa That Thing album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Get Up Offa That Thing
Funk 1976
JAMES BROWN Bodyheat album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bodyheat
Funk 1976
JAMES BROWN Mutha's Nature album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mutha's Nature
Funk 1977
JAMES BROWN Take a Look at Those Cakes album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Take a Look at Those Cakes
Funk 1978
JAMES BROWN Jam/1980's album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jam/1980's
Funk 1978
JAMES BROWN The Original Disco Man album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Disco Man
Funk 1979
JAMES BROWN Soul Syndrome album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Soul Syndrome
Funk 1980
JAMES BROWN People album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
People
Funk 1980
JAMES BROWN Nonstop! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nonstop!
Funk 1981
JAMES BROWN Gravity album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gravity
Funk 1986
JAMES BROWN Motherlode album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Motherlode
Funk 1988
JAMES BROWN I'm Real album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
I'm Real
Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 1988
JAMES BROWN Love Over-Due album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Love Over-Due
Funk 1991
JAMES BROWN Universal James album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Universal James
Funk 1992
JAMES BROWN Make It Funky - The Big Payback: 1971-1975 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Make It Funky - The Big Payback: 1971-1975
Funk 1996
JAMES BROWN I'm Back album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
I'm Back
Funk 1998
JAMES BROWN The Next Step album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Next Step
Funk 2002
JAMES BROWN James Brown – Get On Up: The James Brown Story album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown – Get On Up: The James Brown Story
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2014

JAMES BROWN EPs & splits

JAMES BROWN Night Train (aka  Twist Around aka Jump Around) album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Night Train (aka Twist Around aka Jump Around)
RnB 1961

JAMES BROWN live albums

JAMES BROWN Live at the Apollo, 1962 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at the Apollo, 1962
Funk 1963
JAMES BROWN Pure Dynamite! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Pure Dynamite!
RnB 1964
JAMES BROWN Live at the Garden album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at the Garden
Funk 1967
JAMES BROWN Live at the Apollo, Volume II (aka Live At The Apollo) album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Live at the Apollo, Volume II (aka Live At The Apollo)
Funk 1968
JAMES BROWN Sex Machine album cover 3.88 | 4 ratings
Sex Machine
Funk 1970
JAMES BROWN Revolution of the Mind album cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
Revolution of the Mind
Funk 1971
JAMES BROWN ...Live Hot On The One album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
...Live Hot On The One
Funk 1980
JAMES BROWN Mean On The Scene album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mean On The Scene
Funk 1982
JAMES BROWN Bring It On! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bring It On!
Funk 1983
JAMES BROWN Soul Session Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Soul Session Live
Funk 1987
JAMES BROWN Live at Chastain Park (aka It's A Live Live Live World aka The Godfather aka Soul & Funky) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Chastain Park (aka It's A Live Live Live World aka The Godfather aka Soul & Funky)
Funk 1988
JAMES BROWN On Stage album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
On Stage
Funk 1988
JAMES BROWN Love Power Peace: Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971 album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Love Power Peace: Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971
Funk 1992
JAMES BROWN Live at the Apollo 1995 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at the Apollo 1995
Funk 1995
JAMES BROWN Live in Atlanta album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live in Atlanta
Funk 1998
JAMES BROWN Say It Live and Loud (Live in Dallas 08.26.68) album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Say It Live and Loud (Live in Dallas 08.26.68)
Funk 1999
JAMES BROWN James Brown Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown Live
Funk 2004
JAMES BROWN Cold Sweat: Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cold Sweat: Live
Funk 2008
JAMES BROWN The James Brown Revue : Get Down at the Apollo with the J.B.’s, Volume IV album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The James Brown Revue : Get Down at the Apollo with the J.B.’s, Volume IV
Funk Jazz 2016
JAMES BROWN Live at Home with His Bad Self album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Home with His Bad Self
Funk 2019

JAMES BROWN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

JAMES BROWN The Funkmasters: The Great James Brown Rhythm Sections, 1960-1973 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Funkmasters: The Great James Brown Rhythm Sections, 1960-1973
Funk 1997

JAMES BROWN re-issues & compilations

JAMES BROWN Mr. Dynamite album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mr. Dynamite
Funk 1969
JAMES BROWN Best of James Brown album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Best of James Brown
Funk 1977
JAMES BROWN The CD of JB: Sex Machine & Other Soul Classics album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The CD of JB: Sex Machine & Other Soul Classics
Funk 1985
JAMES BROWN In the Jungle Groove album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
In the Jungle Groove
Funk 1986
JAMES BROWN CD of JB II: Cold Sweat & Other Soul Classics album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
CD of JB II: Cold Sweat & Other Soul Classics
Funk 1987
JAMES BROWN Greatest Hits Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits Live
Funk 1987
JAMES BROWN Santa's Got a Brand New Bag album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Santa's Got a Brand New Bag
Funk 1988
JAMES BROWN Messing With the Blues album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Messing With the Blues
Funk 1990
JAMES BROWN Live album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live
Funk 1990
JAMES BROWN Sex Machine: The Very Best of James Brown album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sex Machine: The Very Best of James Brown
Funk 1991
JAMES BROWN 20 All Time Greatest Hits! album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
20 All Time Greatest Hits!
RnB 1991
JAMES BROWN Star Time album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Star Time
Funk 1991
JAMES BROWN James Brown Is Back album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
James Brown Is Back
Funk 1992
JAMES BROWN Godfather of Soul album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Godfather of Soul
Funk 1993
JAMES BROWN Soul Pride: 1960-1969 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Soul Pride: 1960-1969
Funk 1993
JAMES BROWN Universal James album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Universal James
Funk 1993
JAMES BROWN Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Collection
Funk 1993
JAMES BROWN At Studio 54 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
At Studio 54
Funk 1994
JAMES BROWN 70's Funk Classics album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
70's Funk Classics
Funk 1995
JAMES BROWN Funky Christmas album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Funky Christmas
Funk 1995
JAMES BROWN Roots of a Revolution album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Roots of a Revolution
Funk 1995
JAMES BROWN JB40: 40th Anniversary Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
JB40: 40th Anniversary Collection
Funk 1996
JAMES BROWN Foundations of Funk: A Brand New Bag: 1964-1969 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Foundations of Funk: A Brand New Bag: 1964-1969
Funk 1996
JAMES BROWN Funk Power 1970: A Brand New Thang album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Funk Power 1970: A Brand New Thang
Funk 1996
JAMES BROWN Golden Hits album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Golden Hits
Funk 1996
JAMES BROWN Spank album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Spank
Funk 1996
JAMES BROWN 40th Anniversary Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
40th Anniversary Collection
Funk 1996
JAMES BROWN Golden Classics album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Golden Classics
Funk 1997
JAMES BROWN Funky Men album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Funky Men
Funk 1997
JAMES BROWN The Very Best of James Brown album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Very Best of James Brown
Funk 1997
JAMES BROWN Dead on the Heavy Funk: 1975-83 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dead on the Heavy Funk: 1975-83
Funk 1998
JAMES BROWN Gold Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gold Collection
Funk 1998
JAMES BROWN The Gold Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Gold Collection
Funk 1998
JAMES BROWN 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of James Brown album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of James Brown
Funk 1999
JAMES BROWN Funky President: Very Best of James Brown, Volume 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Funky President: Very Best of James Brown, Volume 2
Funk 1999
JAMES BROWN The Original Funk Soul Brother (aka Give It Up Or Turn It Loose) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Original Funk Soul Brother (aka Give It Up Or Turn It Loose)
Funk 2000
JAMES BROWN Soul & Funky album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Soul & Funky
Funk 2000
JAMES BROWN Ballads album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ballads
Funk 2000
JAMES BROWN 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of James Brown, Volume 2: The '70s album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of James Brown, Volume 2: The '70s
Funk 2002
JAMES BROWN Out of Sight album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Out of Sight
Funk 2002
JAMES BROWN On Stage at Studio 54 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
On Stage at Studio 54
Funk 2002
JAMES BROWN The 50th Anniversary Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The 50th Anniversary Collection
Funk 2003
JAMES BROWN Godfather of Soul (2003) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Godfather of Soul (2003)
Funk 2003
JAMES BROWN The Ultimate Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ultimate Collection
Funk 2003
JAMES BROWN Platinum & Gold Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Platinum & Gold Collection
Funk 2004
JAMES BROWN Gold: Greatest Hits album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gold: Greatest Hits
Funk 2004
JAMES BROWN Gold album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gold
Funk 2005
JAMES BROWN Soul Legends album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Soul Legends
Funk 2006
JAMES BROWN The Singles, Volume 1: The Federal Years: 1956-1960 album cover 4.50 | 2 ratings
The Singles, Volume 1: The Federal Years: 1956-1960
RnB 2006
JAMES BROWN Number 1's: James Brown album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Number 1's: James Brown
Funk 2007
JAMES BROWN Jazz album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Jazz
Funk 2007
JAMES BROWN Gold album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gold
Funk 2007
JAMES BROWN The Singles, Volume 4: 1966-1967 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles, Volume 4: 1966-1967
Funk 2007
JAMES BROWN The Singles, Volume 2: 1960-1963 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles, Volume 2: 1960-1963
Funk 2007
JAMES BROWN The Singles, Volume 3: 1964-1965 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles, Volume 3: 1964-1965
Funk 2007
JAMES BROWN Dynamite X album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dynamite X
Funk 2007
JAMES BROWN The Godfather: The Very Best of James Brown album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Godfather: The Very Best of James Brown
Funk 2007
JAMES BROWN Soul Brother No. 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Soul Brother No. 1
Funk 2008
JAMES BROWN The Singles, Volume 5: 1967-1969 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles, Volume 5: 1967-1969
Funk 2008
JAMES BROWN The Godfather of Soul album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Godfather of Soul
Funk 2008
JAMES BROWN The Singles, Volume 6: 1969-1970 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles, Volume 6: 1969-1970
Funk 2009
JAMES BROWN The Singles, Volume 7: 1970-1972 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles, Volume 7: 1970-1972
Funk 2009
JAMES BROWN The Singles, Volume 8: 1972-1973 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles, Volume 8: 1972-1973
Funk 2009
JAMES BROWN Collections album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Collections
Funk 2009
JAMES BROWN The Singles Volume Eleven: 1979-1981 ,Vol 11 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Singles Volume Eleven: 1979-1981 ,Vol 11
Funk 2011
JAMES BROWN Business Opportunities album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Business Opportunities
Funk 2012

JAMES BROWN singles (0)

JAMES BROWN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

JAMES BROWN Reviews

JAMES BROWN Love Power Peace: Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971

Live album · 1992 · Funk
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Love Power Peace is the only official live release from the Godfather of Soul with his most powerful band, the original JBs. The story of their arrival on the scene is the stuff of legend: when James Brown's band quit on him en masse in the middle of a tour, he flew in a young band from Cincinnati called the Pacemakers to replace them. The Pacemakers were rechristened as The JBs, and their work with Brown set a new standard of funkiness. Powered by the Collins brothers, Bootsy on bass and Catfish on guitar, the new group recorded a string of funk classics in the studio, including Sex Machine, Talking Loud and Saying Nothing, Soul Power, Greedy Man, and Super Bad.

The JBs were also incendiary in concert, and the show that became Love Power Peace was captured live in Paris in 1971. But the original JBs parted ways with Brown soon after, and the album was shelved. It was finally issued on CD in 1992, with the full show following on a 3-LP set in 2014. (This review is for the CD mix.) I can't help but wonder if this would have supplanted Live at the Apollo as the essential James Brown live album if it had been released in 1971, because it is an amazing performance.

The band includes the aforementioned Collins brothers, along with funky drummer Jabo Starks (sometimes spelled by second drummer Tiger Martin), backup singer Bobby Byrd, and Fred Wesley on trombone getting most of the horn solos. This band is so tight it's almost difficult to believe - they can switch tempos or stop on a dime based on JB's cues. (Indeed, there is video of this show on Youtube. When I first watched it I was astonished to see that some of the segues between songs which I was sure were edited for the CD were actually played live.) This can be heard right from the opening medley of Brother Rapp and Ain't It Funky Now, as the band adjusts the tempo seamlessly while amping the energy level ever upward. Catfish Collins's guitar solo on Ain't It Funky Now is both a delight and a preview of great moments still to come, while Bootsy lays down the groove in a way seldom heard before or since - often imitated but never duplicated.

The show includes two great ballads (Georgia On My Mind and an incredible rendition of It's A Man's World) but it's never a long wait for this band to get back to givin' up the funk. The centerpiece of the album is a hypnotic 9-minute version of Sex Machine, with Catfish Collins spiraling out line after ecstatic line on the guitar while Brown and Byrd repeat the familar "Get Up, Get On Up" refrain, Starks accents Brown's dance moves from the drums and the audience gets worked into an absolute frenzy. And that energy level never lets up, all the way through the closing medley of Super Bad, Get Up Get Into It Get Involved, and Soul Power. When the concert finally ends, the crowd erupts and chants James Brown's name, and you just might find yourself doing the same.

JAMES BROWN In the Jungle Groove

Boxset / Compilation · 1986 · Funk
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If you only own one James Brown record, “In the Jungle Groove” is the one to have. This is much more than just a compilation, this album is a near perfect labor of love by the folks at Polydor who put it together. Many of these tracks are well known, but were hard to get in the past because they did not appear on an album, or they did not appear as a single. Also, many of these tracks are complete versions, rather than edited versions released previously as singles. One cut, “I got to Move” had never been released before at all, which makes all of this a treasure trove for James Brown fans. Most of these cuts feature Brown and his band at their very peak in the late 60s to early 70s. Although the personal varies per track, many famous names show up over and over, including; Bootsy Collins, Catfish Collins, Clyde Stubblefield, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Jimmy Nolan, Bobby Byrd and many more. Even if you own previous versions of these songs, you still need to hear the power of the re-mixes presented here. There is no dead air on this one, every single track is smoking. Also, the long versions contain vocal and Hammond B3 improvs from James you have never heard before, he does get ‘out there’ sometimes.

When this album came out in 1986, it was right on time for the sampling revolution in hip-hop. If you listened to late 80s hip-hop, then you have heard these riffs a thousand times on sampled tracks that ranged from excellent re-workings of James’ music, to utter banality that dragged James’ music into mediocrity. Either way, this album is almost more of a soundtrack to the late 80s than the late 60s, aint it funky now.

JAMES BROWN Hot

Album · 1975 · RnB
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Ironically titled “Hot”, this album, except for a few cuts, is not, but instead marks the beginning of James Brown’s long downhill slide that will take up the rest of his career. At this point, there was really no where else for James to go but down. His successes from the 60s into the early 70s made him one of the most energetic, creative and visionary artists in the pop/RnB/rock field, and his wide reaching influence was topped only by Hendrix and the Beatles. Its hard for any artist to burn bright for ever, and “Hot” is evidence of that.

It’s a strange mish-mash that makes up this thrown together album. Side one opens with title song, “Hot”, which is basically a direct lift of David Bowie and Carlos Alomar’s famous “Fame” riff retooled to sound like James and his group. Some are critical of this one, but it hits a solid groove. This is followed by a couple older pop songs updated for no particular reason other than to fill up an album. They’re not bad tracks really, but hardly great either. Track three, “Try Me”, is a terrible update of one of James’ classic ballads. The orchestration is sweet simple corn syrup that would be a better fit on a children’s album or something by Rick Wakeman. Side one closes with some bizarre psychedelic funk that would be alright except that there are these incidental vocal noises that are mixed too loud.

Side two starts strong with the classic funk of “Woman”, easily the best track on the album. The rest of side two is made up of more pop re-makes, some better than others. The best of these is “Most of All”, a doo-wop flavored tune with sophisticated jazzy orchestrations and interesting time change-ups, it also features some of James' best vocals on the album. The re-make of Brown's classic “Please, Please, Please”, seems unnecessary, but at least the arrangement is not near as bad as the previous “Try Me”.

There are a few tracks on here that James Brown fans will want to pick up, but almost any previous James Brown album is better than this one. Unfortunately, James will continue the rest of his career in less than stellar fashion, but fortunately, that will in no way tarnish the best of his early work.

JAMES BROWN Super Bad

Album · 1971 · RnB
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Although “Super Bad” was recorded in 1971 when James Brown’s band was at its peak creating the new funk sound, there is a surprising mixture of styles on here that also encompass other phases of Brown’s career. The back side of the album cover claims that this is a live album, but its well known by now that the applause on here was added later. The fact that James never talks to the “audience” would be the first give away to me. Few entertainers engaged their audience to the degree that James would.

This album opens with the title song, “Super Bad” (parts 1,2 & 3, oh my!), which brings on the hardcore funk to start things right. There are no musician credits on here, but more than likely that is Jimmy Nolan scratching out a persistent syncopated riff on the guitar to a fast break-beat while James exhorts his musicians and asks for saxophonist Maceo Parker to “give me some Trane”. Maceo responds with screeching saxophone in the new avant-garde style of John Coltrane. This free soloing over an energetic relentless rhythm can be seen as a forerunner for the “free funk” and “punk jazz” scenes of the early 80s. In fact, if you owned this track plus Miles “Get Up With It” and Sly’s “There’s a Riot Going On”, you were on top of where a lot of music was heading.

For being an early 70s JB album, its surprising that the lengthy title track is the only funk tune on here, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the album is bad at all. If you like Brown’s way with ballads, he has two great ones on here, “Sometime” and “A Man’s got to Go Back to the Crossroads”. Both deal with heartbreak in that way that only James can, where he lays his life on the line with every word. “Let it be Me” and “By the Time I get to Phoenix” are up-tempo soulful remakes of pop classics. “Let it be Me” is the best of the two due to some un-credited high energy female vocals, possibly Lynn Collins. Longtime James fans will have to laugh when he finishes the first line on “Phoenix” with his signature “Hunh!! The one oddball number on here is “Giving out of Juice”, a straight up blues with a slight rock sound featuring heavily distorted guitar fills and solos. Possibly James was going for the hippie crowd on that one, ha.

James Brown fans will want to get this, lots of good tunes on here, but those looking for the pure funk will want to check out some of his other late 60s and early 70s recordings.

JAMES BROWN It's A Mother

Album · 1969 · Funk
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“It’s a Mother” is rarely mentioned when it comes to talk about James Brown’s best records. Surely at the time of its release this LP seemed like a bunch of tunes from here and there hastily thrown together so an LP supporting the hit “Mother Popcorn” could be released, but none of that matters. This all came about at a time when James Brown and his band were nearing their creative peak and all you had to do was just turn on the tape deck and let them jam and you would be recording pure gold almost every time.

James and his band make it clear from the start that this is a whole new bag. The album opens hard with the harsh modernistic minimal syncopated lines of “Mother Popcorn”, James enters quickly with multi-phonic screams that echo John Coltrane. Don’t think that the Coltrane connection is an accident as witness James’ exhortations to saxophonist Maceo to “blow me some Trane”. This funk was a whole new style of music based on a strong melodic independent bass line surrounded by interlocking syncopated rhythms on the other instruments. This bass driven style has gone on to be a huge influence on modern music, possibly only the Beatles have had a stronger impact on the post-Lil Richard/Elvis world of pop music than James. As the 90s approached, Brown’s stamp on modern music increased with the advent of hip-hop, break beat, acid jazz and drumnbass.

Although the opening sounds of “Mother Popcorn” may have been shocking to many, elsewhere on this album James still plays in his older more familiar RnB style, but now with a little more funk influence. This album represents James at the crossroads with some elements from his old music, but even more elements from his new style. There are many gems on here, “Popcorn with a Feeling” is groovy acid jazz with a heavy blaxploitation soundtrack vibe featuring congas, flute and B3, it’s a must have for rare groove DJs. “You’re still out of Sight” has an infectious horn riff that would go on to make one of the best hip-hop rhythm loops of all time. “Any Day Now“ features a classic James Brown ADHD band arrangement that has his band battling rapid style changes that go from ballad, to big band buildup to high energy funk in a matter of seconds while James delivers an incredible high range melodic vocal performance. “The Little Groove Maker Me” features the band live showing what this new music was all about. The band lays down a wicked one chord groove while James interacts with the audience and his band members creating a participatory musical event in which the band is able to read the audience and keep them out on the floor while also making the audience feel they are part of what is happening on stage.

Very few bands have played with the hot energy and creativity that is featured here. Sure this album is a slapped together mess of b-sides, live tracks and styles from all over the map, but the rough hewn flow of this album just adds to its appeal.

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