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VINE VOICEon January 22, 2001
Unless you happen to have every single tune on this album because you have a monster record collection, there is no excuse in the world not to own this CD. James Brown is a towering figure in modern American music - - period. He IS to American music even now what Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were to American music then. Though the "Godfather of Soul" and creator of funk, even if you're not a self proclaimed hard core funkateer or soul addict such as myself, it would be impossible to say that you know anything about American popular music, even rock music, until you've studied Brown, and this is a great place to start.
I like this album in particular because it offers a great yet economical window on his career, from his earliest hit "Please Please Please" until his peak in the '70s... and doesn't waste time getting to the point. - - And it offers a great glimpse into the evolution of his music from R & B to soul to funk. Strangely enough though, even if you go back 40 years, you could still throw on virtually any track on this album and people would get up and dance.
My advice would be, after getting this album, if you find yourself digging a certain era or vibe, check out some of the other great compilations to help you dig deeper. Also... If you like the '60s stuff, Live At The Apollo might be a pick you'll dig. If you dig the '70s stuff, check out The J.B.s Funky Good Time Anthology (or Greatest Hits Album).
And for a deeper study in Brown check out his Biography !
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on August 1, 2000
This album is a great collection of all of James Brown's absolute mega-hits. Of course he has written so many great songs that this is simply a skimming of the absolute best songs. I had no real James Brown albums before I bought this one, but I had heard enough of his stuff to know I wanted at least one CD and this is it, this is the best CD there is with respect to his work, and may well be one of the best Soul CDs of all time.
I love it because the songs just want to make you jump out of your seat and start boogieing. It really makes you want to dance. It also has very emotional songs that are filled with energy.
There are of course the songs everyone has heard from "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" which is an absolute great song that makes my foot tap involuntarily every time it comes on, to "Get Up" which has that weird over the top sexual innuendo that James Brown is so good at, to "Super Bad" which might very well be the best song on here, "I Got You (I Feel Good)" which might be the most well known song. But there are also a lot of songs that are awesome and not heard nearly as much like "Get On The Good Foot" with those sexual plays again, "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" which at times seems almost to be ironic, and "Think" which is an emotional appeal.
I highly recommend this CD to everyone! This is the one James Brown CD you have to own. And if you really like this though they have a lot more funk going on I recommend Parliament's "Best of Parliament" as well for some more of this funk-soul sound.
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on January 23, 2005
As far as single CD collections of James Brown, this 1991 Polydor release "20 All-Time Greatest Hits", song per song, is as good as any American release. This collection retails at Amazon for club members at under 10 dollars, which will appeal to bargain hunters.

Far superior to "20 All-Time Greatest Hits" is the "50th Anniversary Collection" released by Polydor in 2003. "50th Anniversary" is a double CD that collects a windfall of 50 songs (count em!) and retails to Amazon club members at just over 15 dollars...so for a mere five bucks you get 30 extra songs and a fairly comprehensive collection of the Godfather of Soul. You can do math and decide which collection is the best buy for you.

I like this collection because it includes a representative sample of each edition of the JBs, Brown's muscular back-up band. Earlier James Brown collections have short-changed the star studded, early Seventies formation of the JBs, a group of gritty funk pioneers who went on to form the spine of both George Clinton's ground breaking Funkadelic and P-Funk units.

I tend to judge smaller collections like "20 Greatest Hits" not on which songs are included, but which songs are left out. Among the missing in action on this collection are earlier chestnuts like: "Out of Sight","Lickin'Stick", "I Can't Stand Myself", and "I Got the Feeling". As a matter of personal taste, "20 Greatest Hits" loses a lot of points because it doesn't include "There Was Time". ("There Was A Time" the mid-tempo song with the eternal groove that contained my all-time favorite surreal R&B lyric of "we all get together, any kind of weather, and do the camel walk.").

Missing on both "20 Greatest Hits" and the more comprehensive "50th Anniversary Collection" is "Living In America" which catapulted Brown back into the top ten and brought his music to a new generation. Unfortunately that song is missing from many American collections because U.S. licensing rights are owned by Sly Stallone, as "Living In America" was part of the soundtrack of "Rocky IV." It's possible to get "Living In America" on yet another James Brown collection, "Gold", a 22 song single disc import from Canada, but the $25.00 price tag this Universal International label collection is prohibitive.
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on December 25, 2006
Isn't it funny how singers become even more popular once they've died. James Brown was already a legend in life and he's as much of a legend in death. I've always loved his music and he set a presidence for acts to follow all the way down the track.

I really love this cd, because it truly has some of his best best work. I especially love Make It Funky Pt 1, Try Me and my all time favourite Get Up Offa That Thing. This is a cd that you can really enjoy because the music is contagious and you can't help dancing.

What an amazing talent James was and I'm sure he'll be missed by all his fans. If you aren't a fan already, take a listen to the long list of hits on this cd and you might become a fan yourself. I love this.
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on November 26, 1999
I got this CD on a whim, looking to expand my musical interests. I had always "kind of" liked what I'd heard of Brown. Now, I know why.
He's having fun, delivering tight, enjoyable music. It's infectuous. And, I can hear the roots of some of my favorite music. For example, the muted/rapid/funky picking effect that runs through this music also runs through much of Talking Heads "Stop Making Sense." At one point on that album (Or was it the movie?) the Heads repeat "James Brown" several times. And, I think that Led Zeppelin also pays homage, of sorts, on The Crunge from "Houses of the Holy," where they use the same guitar technique, and make reference to "the bridge," a point of reference several times among Brown's tracks.
If you've ever enjoyed anything by James Brown, you can't lose with this album.
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on May 3, 2015
Nothing against James Brown, his music or his band; this is a GREAT album~~I just prefer "Live @ The Apollo", since I'm personally drawn to it's more concise "Songish" material than to the long, funky jams featured on this CD. Nonetheless, you can't beat this selection as the sound track for your next mele, should you decide to roll up the rug and kick some jam.
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on September 19, 2013
This album has every one of my favorite James Brown songs on it! It takes me back to my younger years, and all the dancing my husband and I did to these songs.....not to mention the powerful lyrics that meant so very much to us at the time. Well I'm happy to say that those lyrics are just as powerful when you hear them today! I listen to this album often (I guess the term "album" really gives up my age!), and my little two year old granddaughter LOVES to listen to it with me! She already knows many of the words to most of the songs, and dances tirelessly as they play. I'm proud to say we're bringing up another generation of James Brown fans!! :-)
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on December 12, 1999
Everyone's heard a few James Brown songs unless you've been living under a rock. I'm not much into funk but I picked this up because it looked like a fun CD to listen to and WOW, it's unbelievable. The funk and grooves are infectious and will have you sliding around the floor like James.
I'd say every song on here is classic, play it straight through and then play it again.
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This is the absolute best single-disc collection of the Godfather of Soul's first twenty years, from 1956's plaintive "Please, Please, Please" to 1976's funky "Get Up Offa That Thing." In between you get all six of his top ten hits --including classics like "I Got You (I Feel Good)," "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag (Pt. 1)" and "Cold Sweat (Pt. 1)"--and other singles which charted in the Top 40. As a primer, 20 All-Time Greatest Hits is a great introduction. My only complaint is the lack of chronological sequencing. For example, you get 1971's "Make It Funky (Pt 1)" coming before 1959's "Try Me" (Brown's first Hot 100 hit). It's a bit confusing. I have the Star Time box set on cassette, but I opted for this single disc when I upgraded to CD--it's got most of Brown's biggest hits. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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on March 27, 1999
Big fans might want the individual CDs or a larger boxed set, but for the rest of the world this is the CD to have. EVERYBODY, should have a James Brown CD. Everybody. This is some of the most groundbreaking, earth shattering, trailblazing music of modern times. Not only is it great fun, but it is also musically significant in the big scheme of things. Historical importance aside, you will undoubtedly look back fondly at some of the good times that just-so-happened-to-have-occurred while a James Brown CD is playing.
This review isn't done until we request that everybody listen to Superbad (Parts 1 and 2)(Track 17) a few times consecutively. Wow!
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