Many fans' pupils may dilate when the review title states that this 1967 effort surpasses the 1962 Classic: simply put, this set is really the cornerstone to the Funk Revolution - without forgetting the heart ballads ("Try Me", "Prisoner Of Love") or the gospel-based rhythms ("It May Be The Last Time", "Please, Please, Please"). The earlier show captures a fan favorite pulling out the stops; the later show, despite a sometimes weary sounding star, invites you to join him for a new adventure. It was "I Love You, Yes I Do" giving way to "Hipster's Avenue"! Yes, something was lost, but something surely was gained.
The third Apollo album came in 1971 and by now it was almost *pure* funk for the duration, with a strong dose of eros. This one was definitely not for the kiddies. Apollo 4 happened in '95, and had a great "Make It Funky 2000" with the Reverend Al Sharpton, and a terrific new ballad, "Georgia-Lina" but when the CD ends you're not overly inclined to crank it up again. It was mostly the same ol' stuff.
With that perspective, let's look at the contents of this expanded edition. The opener "Think" is an uptempo duet with JB's new discovery Marva Whitney, and we start with a show-stopper! The Vicki Anderson-James Brown version of this arrangement on 45rpm [still not on CD!] is more exciting, but the '67 live track is excellent. "I Wanna Be Around" and "That's Life" are taken at a slow pace, unlike previous studio and TV Special performances - James sounds tired on these, but delivers memorable performances. "Kansas City" is his classic arrangement - too bad he didn't continue it into present day.
"There Was A Time" is a bit more relaxed than on the Dallas '68 set, but is tighter.
Additional material includes Bobby Byrd's "Sweet Soul Music", a full instrumental of "Caravan", and short takes of "My Girl" and "Money Won't Change You" (what a disappointment to learn that this one was not offered full-blown). The vocal track is far superior.
"It's A Man's...World/Lost Someone" is much longer, including a previously unissued brief reference to Percy Sledge. Again, we have sections not exactly for General Audiences, but the Soul is undeniable. As the tracks are presented in the original order, this cut is heard earlier in the set. It actually works better in the *original* release order, just before the closer, "Please, Please, Please".
It's interesting that this session was cut only about six months after the "Live At The Garden" [actully live at the Latin Casino in New Jersey] recording. That album, though technically-challenged, is Brown's most *exciting* live effort.