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Customer Review

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...In Order To Get Down...I'm Gonna Have To Get In Deep...", 2 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Singles 8: 1972-1973 (Audio CD)
I've been diligently collecting this series of 2CD sets since they started in 2006, but this 8th instalment has me literally chomping at the review-bit, because if you ever required categorical proof of the Godlike genius of James Brown and his fantastically funky backing band The JB's - then this beautifully presented compilation is it. Genuinely - I've not been in awe of a reissue like this for a very long time indeed.

But to the details first... All tracks are credited to JAMES BROWN except where noted and the pairing of numbers below are the A & B-sides of US 7" singles. Released 21 December 2009 in the USA (November 2009 from Hip-O's own site), but delayed to 1 March 2010 in the UK, Hip-O Select/Polydor B0013349-02 breaks down as follows...

Disc 1 (69:07 minutes):
1 and 2 are Polydor PD-14110 scheduled for release January 1972 but withdrawn
3 and 4 are Polydor PD-14116, released February 1972
5 is People PE-607, A-side only, released April 1972 [B-side is a non JB track, therefore not included]
6 and 7 are Polydor PD-14125, released April 1972
8 and 9 are Polydor PD-14129, released May 1972
10 and 11 are People PE-610, released July 1972 [credited to "The JB's"]
12 and 13 are Polydor PD-14139, released July 1972
14 and 15 are Polydor PD-14153, released October 1972
16 is Polydor 2066-285, the British B-side to 14, released October 1972
17 and 18 are Polydor PD-14162-DJ, Promo-Only MONO Versions, released December 1972
19 and 20 are Polydor PD-14162, Stock Copy REVERB Versions, released December 1972

Disc 2 (75:03 minutes):
1 and 2 are Polydor PD 14157, released December 1972 [credited to JAMES BROWN and LYN COLLINS]
3 is People PE-612, released December 1972 [credited to FRED WESLEY & THE JB'S]
4 and 5 are Polydor PD-14168, released February 1973
6 and 7 are People PE-619, released February 1973 [credited to FRED WESLEY & THE JB'S]
8 and 9 were to be Polydor PD-14169, but the release was cancelled
10 and 11 are People PE-621, released March 1973 [credited to FRED WESLEY & THE JB'S]
12 and 13 are Polydor PD-14177, released April 1973
14 (Version 2) is a reissue of 12 (Version 1) on Polydor PD-14185, released June 1973
15 and 16 were to be Polydor PD-14193, but the US release was cancelled. However, they were issued in the UK on Polydor 2066-370 in August 1973
17 and 18 are People PE-627, released August 1973 [credited to FRED WESLEY & THE JB'S]
19 and 20 are Polydor PD-14194, released August 1973

The 28-page booklet by noted JB expert and former tour manager ALAN LEEDS is a joy to look at, a hugely informative read and is packed to the gills with track histories and recording session details. The first generation master tapes for the single mixes have been transferred by SETH FOSTER and a typically superlative job done - warm, clear and funky as f**k. And "Limited Edition" is embossed in gold lettering on the rear inlay (it's 6,500 copies worldwide).

Disc 1 opens (uncharacteristically) with a ballad "Nothing Beats A Try But A Fail" (the withdrawn single) and it's shockingly lovely - followed of course by more familiar territory - the kicking vocal version of "Hot Pants Road". The 3 socially conscious songs dotted across the 2 discs are musically and lyrically sensational - and (unfortunately) still relevant to this day - they are "King Heroin", "Public Enemy No.1" and "Down & Out In New York City". The utterly irresistible beat of "Doing It To Death" (lyrics above) compliments Disc 2 while the almost Crusaders smooth funk instrumental "Sportin' Life" from " Black Caesar" is just sooo cool!

Downsides - when the songs get into a great groove, you do wish they went on longer, but of course it's the nature of the edited single to cut them short. There is also the B-sides that are 'missing' because there's no JB involvement in them - their presence would have been better for those who want the complete picture, but these are minor niggles.

When you think of the mind-blowing excellence of the albums "There It Is", "Get On The Good Foot" (a 1972 double) and "Black Caesar" (a 1973 single soundtrack) with both the doubles of "Hell" and "The Payback" coming in late 1973 and mid 1974 - it was an absolutely extraordinary time for James Brown and everyone around him.

If you want to know why he got the title "The Godfather of Soul" in the first place - and especially why funk fans dig him so much - then buy this superbly featured reissue. The only problem is that you'll want all the previous numbers too.

Genius baby - it really is. And what a loss to music...
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Sep 2010 10:52:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Sep 2010 10:53:45 BDT
Great review. When I saw JB at work, live in Brixton, well past the peak of his powers, and not long before he passed on, he was still a mesmerising mind blowing powerhouse of funky soulfulness... I realised that somehow, for whatever occult reasons, he was like a supernatural conduit for the funky essence of life. I'm not religious (spiritual, perhaps), but it was a powerful experience. For all his bad-ass craziness and showbiz chutzpah, for me JB was and is and ever will be the shamanic King Funk.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Sep 2010 23:48:02 BDT
Mark Barry says:
Nice way of putting it Sebastian...I wish I'd seen him. Saw so many great soul and funk gigs, but never him. Donny Hathaway was another...stunning stuff.
Saw Bill Withers in Walthamstow Town Hall in about 1990/1991 with Spyrogyra supporting!

I'm chomping at the bit for Volume 9 of JB's "Singles" which comes out in a week or so...

Take care and thanks for the positive. Mark.
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Mark Barry "Mark Barry"
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