Friday 21 April 2023


"the band

the long version

best record"

That's what I had written down as notes for this tune. Need I say more?

This tune and parts of this tune had been recorded and released previously on several high profile James Brown records between 67-70 including as part of a medley, a single, an album cut and several live versions. 

This version however is somewhat mysterious. It appears to be a studio jam recorded in 1970 but as I no longer have the 96 compilation cd Funk Power 1970: A Brand New Thang I can't really find any concrete information on it apart from the fact that this version was previously unreleased. 

1996 was a fantastic year for for JB fans because three of his best ever cd compilations were released by Polydor: Foundations Of Funk: A Brand New Bag 64-69, Funk Power 1970 and Make It Funky: The Big Payback 71-75. In fact if you're a funky JB neophyte this is exactly where to start. It's got all his soulful-proto-funk to his funky funk to just plain funk and stops just short of where he starts integrating disco elements into his sound. These were meticulously put together collections. So this is THE primo James Brown goodness. Then if you need more there's an endless amount of releases to explore. These three stellar compilations have never been reissued though but they can be found across blogs, youtube, spotify etc. 

Going back to the band...I mean how smokin' was his band? This is quite possibly the best band of the 20th century...These guys:

Vocals: James Brown 
Organ: Bobby Byrd 
Bass Guitar: Bootsy Collins 
Guitar: Phelps "Catfish" Collins
Drums: John "Jabo" Starks
Conga: Johnny Griggs
Tenor Saxophone: Robert "Chopper" McCollough
Trumpet: Clayton Gunnels
Trumpet: Darryl Jamison
Engineer: Ronald Lenhoff
We've got just the one drummer here as Clyde Stubblefield left the group sometime in 1970. Sometimes they would have three drummers and a conga player on one tune. Here we've got Griggs on congas and the man behind the "Think" break Jabo Starks on drums. There's no Fred Wesley who sat out most of 1970 but then came back in 71. You could spend your life tracking and tracing the fabulous personal on each phonkay JB cut. They're like an elite footy team. They should have their own footy cards. 

Oh almost forgot fuzzy lead break alert at 4:17.  Thank you Catfish Collins, you are a legend!

The entire jam is MESMERISING

Those drums though 

1 comment:

  1. Quite possibly the best band, indeed. I hold on to the three volumes of James Brown’s Funky People, and the James Brown’s Original Funky Divas double cd like the treasure troves they are.