Monday, December 04, 2006

the Soul of JB part two .




I continue the ‘hot thing’ that I left half way through the edition for the conclusion of this ‘The Soul Of JB part. 2’. We left off with some of the hotter singles so now we will continue with the albums and a live that all, yes all the lovers of James Brown have owned on vinyl or even on tape, bought by themselves or recorded by friends, I am talking about (naturally) “Sex Machine” from 1970. When I hear this double piece of vinyl I still get goose pimples… yes, exactly like when I heard the whole thing, for the first time, exactly 13 years ago! Leaving aside the usual, celebrated “Sex Machine” (of course) or “Give It Up Or Turn It Loose”, I would like to bring to your attention some pieces that, in my opinion, have passed into the background even though maintaining the same notoriety as the titles that I have just mentioned seeing as they contain many grooves. “Lowdown Popcorn” and “Spinning Wheels” for me show the true soul of JB and his band in such that they are relaxing (but knowingly) and full of Soul! “Mother Popcorn”, in my opinion, represents Funk in its purest form and puts into evidence the coordination of the virtuous musicians that never tripped up, leaving spaces in all the right places, something different than what happened with Fusion at the end of the 70’s and beginning of the 80’s where the musicians, very technical, created a too perfect and ‘full’ sound, only leaving space to the soloists at the moment of their solo’s. After this mention of Fusion I will pass over to “Get On The Good Foot” from 1972 where inside the cover (double) you can see his evolutions on stage under the dazed and attentive eyes of the band. Of this album I would recommend the title track, also pieces like “Cold Sweat” (different from the 45), “Funky Side Of Town” and “Dirty Harri”! With this album JB began to realise a series of works that left many spaces to the solo artists, also the same songs began to last 6 minutes or even more! “The Payback” is without doubt a must as far as breaks are concerned, those parts that have been sampled by practically all the Hip Hop and R’n?b bands, and songs such as “The Payback”, “Take Some And Leave Some” or the infinite and super ‘bad groove’ of “Mind Power” with a series of Black ideology of the power of the mind and other things, leave you once again understanding who was the true Godfather Of Soul in that period! Also “Hell” in 1974 pointed out an important political and social passage of Brown concerning the black brothers and, maybe, even the white ones! ‘It’s Hell Down Here And We Got To Make A Change’ or ‘It’s Hell When You Don’t Have A Job And You Have To Eat’ are, in fact, some of the phrases written inside the cover. The 8 minutes of “I Can’t Stand It” reassume in a big way the groove of the entire album and “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” redefines it clearly! Relaxing with pieces such as “Lost Someone” or “These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You” is obligatory! Well, I have to be sincere… in this album you will find much of that which could be called ‘Soul Beat’. Before closing I would like to mention some productions by Brown that are needed to make grow the notoriety of the ‘James Brown family’ through a larger public. A record that shouldn’t be missed for any reason (just think, the original costs more than 100 Pounds Sterling!) is “It’s My Thing” by Marva Whitney, the ex chorus singer of James that, thanks to her voice and the JB band, makes the album not have one song that I would recommend to you… because they are all fantastic! Apart from the ones by the JB’s (one of his band – maybe the last from the real Funk period – that succeeded the Kings Men or the Famous Flames), I would recommend all the works by Maceo Parker from 1970 to 1974 as well as those of Fred Wesley and Bobby Byrd from the same period. My favourite pieces, with which I opened the dance a few years ago, are “Blow Your Head” by Fred Wesley And The JB’s and “I Know You Got Soul” by Bobby Byrd, respectively sampled, towards the end of the 80’s, by Marrs for the hit “Pump Up The Volume” and Eric B and Rakim in “I Know You Got Soul”!

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