3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2011
This is a fantastic album of James Brown tunes. Full of funky tunes, that never quite made it to the greatest hits CDs but are head and shoulders above some of the 'classics'. To my ears 'People Get & Drive' is one of the best funk tunes ever, and it's worth buying it if only for the full 9 min version of it on here, when compared to the orginal 3 and a bit min version.
If you're a James Brown fan, this is a must, if you're a funk fan, this is a must, if you're wondering what all the James Brown fuss is about, then this is a great place to start.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2011
forget the 100s of compilations and perhaps even the albums too because every track on this album is upbeat and funked up! there are no slow tracks and no filler, this is probably the perfect cd to start a james brown collection.
might even be the only jb cd you ever need to buy if you just want the faster stuff.
absolutely essential music!
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2011
Within the context of James Brown CD releases Motherlode is nowhere near being a motherlode (the definition of the term being "The main vein of ore in a region").
That accolade belongs to In The Jungle Groove, a James Brown compilation originally released just two years prior to this title. In comparison to that CD Motherlode simply does not have anywhere near the same consistantly inherent funky and focused drive.
In The Jungle Groove consisted entirely of studio tracks. A major factor in the weakening of Motherlode is the inclusion of live tracks. Firstly, those tracks are not up to the same standard of fidelity as the studio tracks amongst which they sit. Secondly, they just aren't anything special. Although there exist a multitude of live tracks from the period covered by this compilation which absolutely KILL their studio counterparts, the live tracks appearing here just don't tear it up like that. They're pretty straightforward renditions. I honestly can't understand the reason for their inclusion when the studio tracks would have worked better.
The live tracks leave Motherlode feeling very much like an album of two distinct halves. A shaky first half with the variable integrity of a not-very-well-planned mix tape of live and studio material, and a much more solid latter half consisting entirely of studio recordings. If you ignore the first half and start playing this CD from track 6 the album comes closer to being a companion piece to In The Jungle Groove.
Motherlode in more recent times has been bettered by compilations such as Foundations of Funk, Make It Funky and Funk Power. I would suggest a casual listener who wishes to explore James Brown's funk in greater depth heads for any of those titles before touching this CD.
So to sum up; I'll give Motherlode a 3 star rating for the latter half of the album alone, but taken as a whole it's really not worthy of "motherlode" status.
One final note; The original 1988 CD of Motherlode (with the blue cover) was subtitled "1967-1973". Polydor obviously chose with the remaster (the multicoloured cover) to despatch with that concept by adding a Disco/Funk bonus track from 1976, 'Bodyheat' ....another move which boggles the mind given the amount of higher quality and more stylistically suitable material available to them from the late 60s and early 70s.