James Brown

James Brown's Funky People

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The first in the wildly popular three-disc series, James Brown's Funky People is an outstandingly chunky collection that spotlights some of the many talented musicians associated with James Brown and his early- to mid-'70s People Records imprint. The material comprising this disc is split primarily between the J.B.'s, Fred Wesley both with and without the J.B.'s, and one of funk's original divas, Lyn Collins. "Gimme Some More," "Pass the Peas," "Givin' up Food for Funk (Part 1)," and "Hot Pants Road" are the J.B.'s' offerings, spectacular studio recordings that highlight some of the band's best material for the label -- material which at the time was often passed over in favor of their "proper" James Brown recordings. Fred Wesley, meanwhile, weighs in with the CD-only long version of "Damn Right, I Am Somebody (Parts 1 & 2)," before joining the J.B.'s on three more tracks, including the epic "(It's Not the Express) It's the J.B.'s Monaurail (Part 1)." This particular song, credited to Fred and the New J.B.'s, was recorded during one of the more traumatic times in the James Brown camp and, when compared to the other classics on this CD, doesn't have the same spark or fire. And if anyone questioned the odd spelling in the title, the band's request that if you don't know what a monorail is "check out Seattle" clears up any doubt. The Lyn Collins tracks feature a mono version of "Mama Feelgood" and the outstanding "Think (About It)," a song that would become an iconoclastic symbol of the funk era, heavily sampled by over 40 artists during the 1980s and 1990s. Included, too, is the bonus "Same Beat (Part 1)," recorded by Wesley and the J.B.'s on September 7, 1973, in New York.

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