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The Payback
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The Payback

5 Oct. 1998 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 1973
  • Release Date: 5 Oct. 1998
  • Label: Polydor Ltd.
  • Copyright: (C) 1973 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:12:59
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001KUJCG2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,828 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Andy Edwards VINE VOICE on 5 May 2006
Format: Audio CD
James Browns third soundtrack album of the early 70's, except this never appeared with the film, as other reviewers have pointed out. This can realistically be regarded as the end of a progression started with "Say It Loud..", as James produces arguably his most political work .

At the time this album was conceived, JB was in a commercial slump, ignored by the music mainstream. While this did little to break that situation, here was James Brown being completely true to his ideals - no compromise for commercial gain, no dodgy endorsement of sleazy politicians.

Here there is only a funk groove, underlying lyrics of social awareness encompassing a plea for equality. If ever an album was a funk bomb, then this is it. James remains true to his tried and tested methods - you can still hear the arrangement being done on the hoof "I wanna go way back to the top", and there can have been few better examples of his craft than "Stone to the Bone".

There are more influencial JB productions, but this is significant because it marked the beginning of the end of the Godfathers' reign - only "Hell" would be worthwhile after this release. As time has gone on samplers have recognised the true nature of this album - pick it up and immerse yourself in the true power of the Funk
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr Gene Anthony Gin on 15 Dec. 2009
Format: Audio CD
Black music has an odd position in the mainstream critical canon.

One or two records - Marvin's "What's goin' on", Miles's "Kind of Blue", Prince's "Sign 'o' The Times", Stevie's "Songs in the key of life" - are all dutifully trotted out to round off even the whitest of white Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan & Led Zeppelin-fixated lists. They dull the corners to 'prove' that any suspected institutionalised racism of yer ROCK is a lie. Except that the aformentioned aren't even those artists' best records - see 'Here my dear', 'Get up with it', 'Parade' & 'Innervisions' if you'd like - but don't forget to mention others, please. Isaac, Smokey, Sly, Curtis, Bootsy, George, oh but good God almighty, don't forget to mention James Brown. Don't ever forget to mention JAMES BROWN.

From about 1965 - 1980, James Brown was involved in creating more good music than anybody else. Anybody else at all. And not just under his own name, but with productions/arrangements for Marva Whitney, Bobby Byrd, Maceo and... settle down at the back please ... The J.B's (about whom more later). His discography is a hotly contested, endlessly revised, partially out-of-print run of various labels, one-offs, big hits, tiny flops, test presses and many, many artistic successes. That the man just about never stopped performing gigs - and with James Brown that word was PERFORMING - is breathtaking. He had the energy of a two year old.

But albums were not James Brown's forte. They displayed a distinct lack of cohesion. As the 1960s progressed well into the 1970s and an album grew to represent THE reflection of a recording artist's worth - James Brown's albums were still dogged by filler and re-recordings.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Palmer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 May 2012
Format: MP3 Download
I'm with Andy Edwards on this one: this is certainly amongst the best JB releases, and a good contender for the very best. The Godfather's albums were varied, and not flawless, but this is probably one of the most consistent, and features some wonderful music. Unbelievably the director of the film 'Hell Up In Harlem' rejected this music, which had been recorded as the OST album for the film! What on earth was he thinking?

'Doing The Best I Can' is a lovely soulful ballad, and 'Forever Suffering' is minor key lament about life at the bottom of the social ladder, but the rest of the album is solid, stone cold funk: title track 'The Payback' is a funky struttin' number with well-arranged horns and backing vocals and a main groove that is mean-and-ornery chicken-scratch fonk of the first water; 'Take Some... Leave Some' is a laid-back bluesy loping groove, with another excellent horn chart; 'Shoot Your Shot' alternates a tension-building sixteenth note simmering section with a horn-riff heavy main groove, with very prominent congas spicing up the beat; 'Time Is Running Out Fast' is something of an oddity, with a percolating insistent groove, and JB and co. doing some strange gumbo-patois vocalising, that sounds strangely cod-tribal; 'Stone To The Bone' is just that, a solid chunk of raw uncooked funk - 'rare' groove indeed! - driven by a supertight groove and some of the funkiest chicken-scratchin' ever; 'Mind Power' finds JB saving the best till last, with a tantric funk intro of over four minutes which leads, via an ornate horn arrangement, into the motherlode of grooves: when the bassline kicks in, the band cook the groove with gentle yet firm authority, and then in comes a fantastically funky flute riff... sublime!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By XBBX on 28 Aug. 2011
Format: Audio CD
The Payback is almost certainly James Brown's most cohesive studio album, giving the listener over one hour of slow-burning (and at times, almost minimalist or hypnotic) Funk of the highest order.

There's a very measured tempo inherent to the album, a solid and definite groove. The fact that this collection of songs was specifically written and collated for use as a film soundtrack (Hell Up In Harlem) shines through in the unusual level of focus shown by Brown - both lyrically and musically.

The fact that it was rejected by the film makers as not being funky enough defies belief. Even without cinematic imagery to accompany it, the music on this album is strong enough to conjure up gritty mental images of the 1970's New York of Shaft and Superfly.

If you're after the frantic and guttural Funk work-outs of James Brown, this isn't the album for you. This is James Brown doing his thing with a more "mature" edge, a bit darker at times, a bit heavier, a lot more mid-paced. And I mean that in the best possible way.

One interesting feature is the length of the tracks, ranging from just under 6 minutes to just over 12 minutes. The final three tracks alone take up over 35 minutes. This isn't simply an album, it's a journey.

For me The Payback is dragged down only by the inclusion of two ballads, both of which are unfortunately very bland, unimaginative and repetative, managing to fill almost 14 minutes between them.

The positive side is that even with those tracks removed you're left with around 70 minutes of a Funk vibe which ebbs between a smoulder and a fast-paced burn-up.
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