Sunday, 13 November 2016

"The Singles Volume 7: 1970-1972" by JAMES BROWN [feat Bobby Byrd and Bootsy Collins] (2009 Hip-O Select 2CD Set - Seth Foster Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...


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"…Feel Like Being A Sex Machine..."

I've been diligently collecting this series of 11 x 2CD sets of JAMES BROWN 'Singles' since they first started being released Stateside in September 2006.

This 7th instalment is one of six volumes to cover his extraordinary Seventies output – a particular favourite period for me. Volumes 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11 are the others - featuring every US 7" single released between 1970 and 1979 including all cancelled 45s and promo variants/remixes in both Mono and Stereo. Volumes 1 to 5 cover everything else prior - starting at 1958 on Federal Records through to his King and Bethlehem output in early 1970.

Volume 7 of "The Singles" picks up where Volume 6 left off (Volume 6 covers March 1969 through to early June 1970). Covering three labels - King, People and Polydor Records – we get pairings of every A&B-side released betwixt late June 1970 through to January 1972. It has the same spectacular Audio and beautifully presented 28-page fact-filled booklet that all volumes have - with a feast of fan-pleasing details and memorabilia provided by a team of experts on all things JB Productions. "The Singles" is a superlative CD series and along with the 'Motown' and 'Chess' Book Set Reissues has gone a long way to emblazoning 'Hip-O Select' as a reissue label dear to collector's hearts. Here are the Superbad details...

USA released 26 May 2009 - "The Singles Volume 7: 1970-1972" by JAMES BROWN on Hip-O Select/Polydor B0012728-02 (Barcode 602527001616) offers 39-tracks Remastered onto 2CDs. All catalogue numbers are US 7" singles unless otherwise noted and beneath the discography info are the US R&B and Pop Chart placing (no entry means it didn’t chart). It breaks down as follows...

Disc 1, 18 Tracks, 67:39 minutes:
1. Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine (Part I & 2)
Track 1 is the Promotional Version of King 6318, released June 1970
2. Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine (Part I)
3. Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine (Part 2)
Tracks 2 and 3 are the A&B-sides of King 6318, released June 1970
R&B No. 2 – Pop No. 15
[Note: the version on the 1970 "Sex Machine" vinyl LP is different – re-cut to feature simulated audience applause. The Promotional single is in Mono – the released version in Stereo]

4. Super Bad (Part 1 & Part 2)
Track 4 is the Promotional version of King 6329, released October 1970
5. Super Bad (Part 1 & Part 2)
6. Super Bad (Part 3)
Tracks 6 and 7 are the A&B-sides of King 6329, released October 1970
R&B No. 1 – Pop No. 13

7. Fight Against Drug Abuse
Track 7 is a Public Service Announcement on King PSA-1, released November 1970

8. Hey America (Vocal)
9. Hey America (Sing Along)
Tracks 8 and 9 are the A&B-sides of King 6339, released November 1970

10. Santa Clause Is Definitely Here To Stay (Vocal)
11. Santa Clause Is Definitely Here To Stay (Sing Along)
Tracks 10 and 11 are the A&B-sides of King 6340, released November 1970

12. Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved Pt. 1
13. Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved Pt. 2
14. Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved Pt. 1 (Reverb Version)
15. Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved Pt. 2 (Reverb Version)
Tracks 12 and 13 are the A&B-sides of King 6437, released December 1970. Brown remixed the track shortly after release and added reverb to both sides – these variants are Tracks 14 and 15.
R&B No. 4 – Pop No. 34

16. I Cried
Track 16 is the A-side of King 6363, released January 1971. The B-side was "World Part 2" which is Track 17 on Disc 1 of Volume 5 (originally the B-side for "World Part 1" on King 6258 in August 1969). James Brown and Bobby Byrd originally wrote the A-side "I Cried" in 1963 for Tammy Montgormery who would later become Motown's Tammi Terrell.
R&B No. 15 – Pop No. 50

17. Soul Power Pt. 1
18. Soul Power Pt. 2 & pt. 3
Tracks 17 and 18 are the A&B-sides of the Promotional Version of King 6368, released February 1971. The Promotional Release only features added-on Reverb – the single proper on Disc 2 does not.

Disc 2, 21 Tracks, 69:56 minutes:
1. Soul Power Pt. 1
2. Soul Power Pt. 2 & pt. 3
Tracks 1 and 2 are stock copy release A&B-sides of King 6368, released February 1971
R&B No. 3 – Pop No. 29

3. Spinning Wheel Pt. 1
4. Spinning Wheel Pt. 2
Tracks 3 and 4 are the A&B-sides of King 6366, released March 1971. "Spinning Wheel" is a cover version of the June 1969 Blood, Sweat & Tears hit single on Columbia Records 44871 – a No. 2 Pop hit written by their lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas.

5. Escape-Ism (Part 1)
6. Escape-ism (Part 2 & 3)
7. Escape-ism (Part 1) (Second Mix)
8. Escape-ism (Part 1) (Second Mix)
Tracks 3 and 4 are the original issue A&B-sides of People 2500, released May 1971. Tracks 5 and 6 are a 'second mix' on People 2500, released June 1971. The letter of explanation he sent to Radio Stations is reproduced on the inner rear inlay.
R&B No. 6 – Pop No. 35

9. Hot Pants Pt. 1 (She Got To Use What She Got To Get What She Wants)
10. Hot Pants Pt. 2 & 3 (She Got To Use What She Got To Get What She Wants)
Tracks 9 and 10 are the A&B-sides of People 2501, released June 1971
R&B No. 1 – Pop No. 15

11. My Brother Pt. 1
12. My Brother Pt. 2
Tracks 11 and 12 are the A&B-sides of People 2502 (as THE J.B.'s), released June 1971

13. Make It Funky (Part 1)
14. Make It Funky (Part 2)
Tracks 13 and 14 are the A&B-sides of Polydor 14088, released August 1971. It was his first single with Polydor Records.
R&B No. 1 – Pop No. 22

15. My Part/Make It Funky (Part 3)
16. My Part/Make It Funky (Part 4)
Tracks 15 and 16 are the A&B-sides of Polydor 14098, October 1971

17. I'm A Greedy Man-Part I
18. I'm A Greedy Man-Part II
Tracks 17 and 18 are the A&B-sides of Polydor 14100, released November 1971
R&B No. 7 – Pop No. 35

19. Just Won't Do Right
Track 19 is by LYN COLLINS and was scheduled three times but canceled - as King 6373, People 2503 and People 503 (there are promo copies of King 6373 on the white variant of the label with an A&B-side). It was officially released as Polydor 14107 in December 1971. The "Wheel Of Life" B-side is inexplicably absent from this CD set even though it was produced and arranged by JB. It's available on the LYN COLLINS "Mama Feelgood: The Best Of" CD from 2005 on Polydor.

20. Talking Loud And Saying Nothing – Part I
21. Talking Loud And Saying Nothing – Part II
Tracks 20 and 21 are the A&B-sides of Polydor 14109, released January 1972.
R&B No. 1 – Pop No. 27

Like all 11 Volumes in this Hip-O Select 2CD series - the 28-page booklet by noted JB expert and former tour manager ALAN LEEDS and is a joy to look at — a hugely informative read that's packed to the gills with track histories, concert posters, trade adverts, magazine covers and a thoroughly detailed recording Sessionography. Produced with affection and firsthand knowledge by HARRY WEINGER and ALAN LEEDS - the inlay beneath the see-through CD tray has a typed-letter from JB on James Brown Productions headed paper about the 'too loud guitar' on "Escape-ism" and that DJs and Soul Brothers should dig the new remix and make it an even bigger hit than "Pop Corn"! It's this cool and yet smart attention to detail that shows that both compilers know what fans want (Alan Leeds is pictured on Page 19 with JB on the road to yet another gig).

And again, as in previous issues, SETH FOSTER has transferred the first-generation master tapes for the single mixes and he's done a truly superlative job — warm, clear and fabulously alive. The Mono and Stereo music jumps out of the speakers at you — gorgeous sound. The word "Limited Edition" is embossed in gold lettering on the rear inlay – numbers are not stated but presumably it's a worldwide limited edition of 5000 copies like its predecessor. Now to the amazing music - all killer and no filler as they say...

Even now – 46 years after the event – "Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine" is a monster groove – an utterly amazing groundbreaking piece of wild Funk. A truly clever inclusion is the 'Promotional' version of the song that gives you the full 5:18 minutes instead of the separated 2:57 and 2:31 of Parts 1 & 2. This allows you to hear the full power of the band and the song uninterrupted. Bobby Byrd is the 'Get On Up!' counter vocal – future Parliament wildman Bootsy Collins is the flying Bass player while Phelps "Catfish" Collins plays that deadly flicked guitar. JB anchors and elevates the whole thing with his fabulous piano interludes. Can I take it to the bridge – hit it and quit – legendary stuff baby...

His seasoned band (now known as The J.B.'s) continued their chart-winning steak with the uber-Funk of "Super Bad" - another black consciousness killer with brains and a beat (it went all the way to No. 1 on the US R&B charts - also managing an impressive No. 13 on the Pop charts). Once again the 5:44 minute full version only available on Promo Copies is featured here - and this time it's not just the guitar and bass that feature but the snare drum and slick whacks of 'Jabo' Sharks on Drums and the three horn players - Clayton 'Chicken' Gunnels and Daryl 'Hasaan' Jamison on Trumpets with Robert McCullough on Tenor Saxophone. The 36-second 'Fight Against Drug Abuse' is him advising the youth of America against an instrumental of "Super Bad". You rarely ever hear the excellent "Hey America" where JB gives voice to Nat Jones' anti-war words asking the listeners and those in power to take note of a million peace-signs. Nat Jones also provided "Santa Clause Is Definitely Here To Stay" - a seasonal gospel groove that's not nearly as musically bad or cheesy as its title suggests.

An obvious answer to 'Get On Up' - his "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" single is described by Alan Leeds in the liner notes as a 'stream of consciousness jam' and that's accurate - a raucous driving rhythm featuring JB and Bobby Byrd sparring on vocal shouts. One of the joys of a compilation like this is a discovery and the ballad "I Cried" is one – a slowly both JB and Byrd wrote for a young Tammi Terrell in 1963. It’s a belter with strings and crooning ladies swaying as JB gives it some tearsome.

Ending Disc 1 and beginning Disc 2 is another fabulous and undeniable winner in "Soul Power" where our Funk Overload assures us that his 'rap is strong' (who are we to argue). A surprising disappointment is his instrumental cover version of Blood, Sweat & Tears’ big 1969 hit "Spinning Wheel" which feels weedy to me compared to the undoubted brilliance of the David Clayton-Thomas original. His instincts were right when he remixed "Escape-ism" - the second version (Tracks 7 and 8 on Disc 2) having that 'groove' that moves (JB was rewarded with a No. 6 R&B slot). But for me this compilation's moment of true mastery is the wonderful "Hot Pants" - a groove so down right enjoyable it may very well be issued on the NHS later this year as an antidote to post-operation recuperation blues (and the Audio is sensational). And on it goes with miniskirts and hot pants and gettin' down with hipster folk to the fabulous instrumental groove of "My Brother"...

By the end of the Seventies, James Brown wasn’t troubling the national charts too much - but at its outset (as evidenced here) he was blazing a trail like no other – a sound that would inspire and influence generations to come.

"...Play as hard as you want..." he shouted to his super tight band during the recording of "Super Bad". And on the evidence presented on Volume 7 – they did – nailing that downbeat sucker to the studio wall. Soul and Funk Genius - and then some...
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