Saturday, 20 October 2018

James Brown - Star Time Box Set


This is a truly excellent compliation covering the remarkable career of “The Godfather of Soul”. It covers his early rock’n’ roll/doo-wop influenced era with tracks such as “Please Please Please”, his first hit from 1956, “I Know It’s True”, “Try Me”, with its glorious fifties sax sound and “Out Of The Blue”, through the sixties horn-driven funk/pop of classics like “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag”. There is also the pure blues of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”.

Also present is the Atlantic-style, churchy, organ-powered soul of tracks like “Lost Someone”. Brown covered several different genres of soul in his long career. Check out the Stax-y groove of “Licking Stick-Licking Stick”, a lyrically simple song but in possession of an absolutely intoxicating funky riff. "I Got A Bag Of My Own" is also impossibly funky. Brown just owns tracks like this. Listen to how he controls "Get Up, Get Into It And Get Involved", like a crazed revivalist preacher.

Then we get the copper-bottomed essential seventies funk era with wonderful cuts like the shuffling, insistent funk power of “Funky Drummer” (check out that Fela Kuti-esque sax) , “The Payback”, “Stone To The Bone”, “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine” and the cookin’ and riffy “Hot (I Need To Be Loved, Loved, Loved)”, which uses David Bowie’s “Fame” riff (yes it was this way round, Bowie was first). “Get Up Offa That Thing (Release The Pressure)” is a classic Brown funk number too. He liked a bracket or two in his song titles (too). He did these funk numbers so well, so intuitively and effortlessly. Great stuff. a highly recommended box set. The sound quality is superb throughout, even on the early numbers.


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