James Brown – Funk Power 1970 A Brand New Thang

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The period during which Brown was backed by the original J.B.’s (with Bootsy and Catfish Collins) was extremely brief, lasting only a year. But it was also an extremely important and influential phase of Brown’s career, when he moved from soul-funk to hard funk, stretching out the grooves and putting more stress on the bottom than ever before. This 78-minute disc is the cream of his recordings from the Bootsy Collins era. The nine tracks (the tenth is a brief public-service annoncement) include some of his core funk workouts — “Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine” (two versions), “Super Bad,” “Give It Up or Turn It Loose,” “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing,” “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved,” and “Soul Power.” It’s not for those who find Brown’s funk phase too monotonous, and indeed the grooves do get a bit similar when experienced all at once. But it’s unquestionably the best of Brown’s ’70s recordings, and indeed some of the hardest funk ever waxed by anyone at any time. As a bonus, the CD has previously unreleased complete versions of “Soul Power” (12 minutes) and “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing” (14 minutes), as well as a previously unreleased version of “There Was a Time.”

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