James Brown

Hot Pants

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Brown left the King label after 12 successful, if not always peaceful, years. Hot Pants marks his first effort for Polydor, a bigger outfit that was able to give him a larger budget, better presentation, and, most importantly, artistic freedom. The original set of the J.B.'s with Bootsy Collins had dissolved, and Brown and his newer band had only been together for a few months. Although the original J.B.'s were more rock-based and fiery, Hot Pants proves that the re-formed band was more easily shaped. It was at this point that trombonist Fred Wesley became the bandleader and the band became even more efficient than the earlier group. The leisurely "Blues and Pants" has a great bass pattern from Fred Thomas and Wesley's sly horn charts. "Can't Stand It" is a busier take on the 1968 hit "I Can't Stand Myself." The most recognizable track is the title song, though the version heard here is less potent than the complete take released later. While that might be cause for alarm for some, it is truly instructive. This album features four tracks and is basically Brown getting acquainted with his new band, but the camaraderie makes it worth listening to.

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