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on May 6, 2006
The '75 to '83 period has been dismissed by writers and fans for too long - you know, JB gave in to Disco and gave up on funk... This collection shows that he kept progressing, inventing, and leading the music culture. Despite reduced airplay...and negative reviews.
I bought each and every JB album in that time frame and found that they all had something new. "Hot (I Need To Be Loved...)" is often referred to as a less-than-inspired offer, as it is very similiar to the Bowie tune. Number one, the Bowie tune would have sounded alot different if something like "Papa Don't Take No Mess" didn't exist. And, more importantly, the Brown track happens to be one of his best produced numbers. It's not a classic but it's worth hearing and studying. I'll concede that the music supercedes the lyrics, though - not his best writing.
"Get Up Offa That Thing..." originated as a "party" record; it was smoothed out for the stage but the '76 hit is here and sounding great. "I Refuse To Lose" is presented in its' single mix but to me there's small difference - either way, the vehicle is stuck in the mud - the rhythm guitar and bass are too far back and so the number lacks drive, which is too bad because it's a great lyric, with an arrangement reminiscent of that used on Junior Wells' and Buddy Guys' 1972 rendition of "Messin' With The Kid". [I'm still waiting for the imagined DVD of JB's incredible performance of the song from "The Midnight Special". *That's* the one that really belonged here].
"Kiss in '77" is another lesser-discussed masterpiece, a melodic, moody ballad I had the chance to see live at the Lone Star Cafe in NY in '80. Here we have another live performance - from '77. The sonics suggest that it is not a soundboard recording and possibly part of a projected live album. It's the highlight of this collection and begs the question - when are we gonna get some more previously unreleased James Brown? Research suggests that there several complete shows still in hibernation.
"Nature Part 1" and "Eyesight" are progressive grooves from the late '70s and have shown up on two videos, one live in Canada, "Live In Concert", and "The Lost James Brown Tapes" set.
"Bessie" is traditional JB, a super dance floor groove; a reasonable presumption is that James was inspired here by Joe Tex's "Ain't Gonna Bump No More...". We hear an interesting reference to "the peanut man", probably the same mythic character described earlier by Lil Johnson on "Get 'Em From The Peanut Man Part 1/2" and by Little Richard on the sensitively titled "Hot Nuts". Echo is used to great effect here.
"I Never, Never Will Forget" appears to be based upon Lynn Collin's "Think (About It)" and is interesting in that JB seems to lower the pitch on the lead vocal, thereby giving the dance number almost a "ballad" feel. His vocal is a bit more melodious that some might expect. It's a nice entry but not a top choice, considering un-used cuts from the great "Mutha's Nature" and "Take A Look..." albums.
"A Man Understands" is another number which found its' way into concert - usually in an unofficial medley with "Sex Machine". The '75 "Sex Machine" found here actually anticipates the later, related cut. The "Heavy Funk" is heavy here, folks. "Rapp Payback" is on three concert videos and at least one DVD. Actually, it could be thought of as "Rapp Payback (Where Iz Moses)?/"The Payback", as it incorporates the '74 classic.
Another number originating with another label is the closer "Bring It On...", a post-Disco era Disco-Soul sound, a track which should have gone into the Pop Top 40.
"Regrets" is a good ballad, very well delivered, but "Heavy"...no; "Funk"...no. Here was the spot for the never- on-l.p.-or-CD "Dooley's Junkyard Dogs" from '76. If a ballad was necessary for programming, why not JB's "Something". That was the one that George Harrison reportedly said was his favorite version. And yes, another number which never got beyond the 7-inch stage.
Thank you, Producers Weinger and Leeds for an overall super job. [Still waitin' for the first CD issue of "Live At The Garden", guys...please, please, please, please].
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on August 11, 1999
This stuff is for real fans, as it's a little spotty. A natural progression from the early seventies funk like Payback. Half of this collection is great, such as Bodyheat, Kiss in 77, Eyesight, and the overlooked Nature Part 1 (although they should have used the 10 min. lp version). The spoken intro to Spank is almost worth the price of the cd. The mastering could have been better on a few cuts, but overall a good collection if you like the early 70s stuff and want to take the next step.
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on February 14, 2001
By including tunes like "Your Love" and "Hustle (Dead on It)" from the Everybody's Doing The Hustle and Dead on the Double Bump album, while leaving out the 1976 version of "Papa's Got a New Brand New Bag from the same album, this CD does not immediately gain a whole lot of credibility for intelligence in song selection. "Kansas City" from that same album is another great one that just shouldn't have been ignored.
James Brown made great music in this period but he was extremely uneven. A collection like this is supposed to allow one to get the best of this period without having to pay $25.00 apiece for the original vinyl of the many, many albums he produced in this era. Though some of what is included in this collection is first rate, a lot is missing. This is inexcusable and amounts to a hostage like situation, as the record company once again forces us to wait for another repetitive re-issue just to get at 3 or 4 new songs that we haven't seen for twenty or thirty years.
The swindle is complete, as I paid almost thirty dollars for this collection rather than take a risk and get yet another used record album with a scratch on the one tune I wanted to hear.
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on February 22, 1999
I have been a JB fan for a little over two years. All my JB cd's were from 1970 and older. That was.....until i picked up this disk. I couldnt believe how funky it was. James brown is definatley the Minister of new new super heavy funk
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on October 27, 2002
a interestign collection of james browns music. some uptempo really funky stuff mixed with james rapping!! worth buying if your building up a collection of his work but if you want to hear the best and most popular stuff, this is not the one to buy. a couple of reworked tracks on offer though which gives a different flavor to some songs
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JAmes Brown has A WInner with this Set.It Highlights The FunK.The Godfather Never Lets Up here.He Changed Music Forever.The Grooves Here Showcase His Importance&DEPTH.His Music is Genius&He is a Living LEGEND.
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