James Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina, raised in August, Georgia. He has various nicknames, including “The Godfather of Soul.” He is ranked the #1 artist in the Billboard R&B chart, with an amazing 118 charted entries. In the Billboard Hot 100 Single chart, he is ranked #9, with 107 charted entries. His charting career can be divided into 4 labels: (1) Federal (1956 – 1960), (2) King (1960 – 1971), (3) Polydor (1971 – 1977) and (4) Scotti Brothers (1985 – 1986). In the R&B chart, he has 17 #1 singles, while surprisingly none in the pop chart. He died of heart failure on December 25, 2006, at the age of 73. If you like James Brown’s singles, and a completest like myself, there are 11 volumes of Singles Collection (2 CDs each), covering his entire career, released by Hip-O select.
This latest release by Not Now Music from UK is a 2 CD set, containing 36 songs.
1 The price: The Hip-O’s Federal Years Volume 1 is a collector’s item, currently selling for US$106!!! Amazingly, the price of this current set is 5.64 pounds from sellers. I consider this a steal!
2 There are 18 singles on Federal label, charted and uncharted, a- and b-sides, arranged chronologically. I have compared to the much more expensive Hip-O’s version, which has 5 more songs, not significant: Try Me (demo version), stereo versions of I’ve Got To Change and It Hurts To Tell You. The other 2 extra songs are not James Brown’s songs, but belonged to his tenor-sax player, James Davies: Doodle Bee (instrumental) and b-side, Bucket Head (Federal 12360).
3 The sound is very well remastered, clean with no hiss.
4 There is a 8-page booklet with an informative essay by Caroline Ross. The label & number are included.
1 The 5 extra songs from Hip-O’s version should have been included, thus increasing the value.
2 There is a mistake on the front cover. It should 1956 – 1960, not 1958 – 1960.
3 There are no chart positions.
I have bought all 10 volumes of Hip-O’s volumes (from Volumes 2 -11). Those prices are not that bad. Now that I have Volume 1 at such a low price with good sound, and as a collector and completest, I am extremely happy. If you are considering starting to collect James Brown’s singles, the Not Now Music’s version is definitely highly recommended. The price is right!
For an ex-con, didn't he do well? Here's the entire (released) Federal output, 18 singles, A's and B's, to include three million sellers and four r&b charters, plus numerous misses. His gospel, r&b and doo wop roots are plain to hear, check 'Please, Please, Please', something of a template for those earlier sides, gradually moving into dedicated r&b/doo wop territory. 'Chonnie-On-Chon' is an r&b rocker, in style so Little Richard, the rest more or less evenly split twixt mid/slow, sometimes bluesy r&b. 'Think', his earliest dancer, is, in my opinion, less than the "5" Royales original. Great backing from The Famour Flames adds to a fine collection of r&b. Trouble is, I find his fervid vocals a little grating, but hey, I dig Little Richard and Howlin' Wolf, so I'll manage.
Excellent sleeve note from Caroline Ross in an eight page booklet, even includes personnel, budget price makes for yet another bargain. Now I'm off to the doc, get my ears syringed...