Friday, September 28, 2012

James Brown
"20 All-Time Greatest Hits!" (CD)

Having collected five or six different albums by James Brown, I now realize the challenge presented to anyone who wants to create a "best of" collection.
Brown's unique brand of energy does not translate well to traditional studio recording.  Either you have a fifteen minute drum break (B-side of "Funky Drummer") with James chanting "funky drummer" over the beat, or you get tight instrumental riffs and Brown audibly dancing around the microphone.

To capture on one album the energy, the soul and the fire with which Brown's band played is no small feat.  To see James Brown live in the 1960's would surely be one of the most memorable concerts of my life; to hear it on a recording is a distant consolation prize.  This album does the best one could do under these circumstances.  It has all of the "hits," capturing Brown's band at its tightest and funkiest while not resorting to live concert recordings.  If you were compiling a desert island list, I would strongly suggest this gets put on it.

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