Various Artists

Doing the James Brown

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An entire album of JB covers sounds initially like a project which has got up on the bad foot, but this long-player from Harmless, subtitled "in the footsteps of the godfather of funk" by its compiler (respected journalist James Maycock) works on so many levels that it adds up to an essential purchase for funk aficionados. While some tracks pay homage others, like the Daktaris' "Give It Up or Turn It Loose," stray far from the original, as the bongo-rocked spoken word of the Last Poets vision encapsulates not the material of James Brown, but the man himself. Of course, despite the effort of some superb performers (Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Lou Pride amongst them), there is nothing quite like the man himself with the highlight taking the form of a spectacular 12-minute live performance of "Cold Sweat." Clyde Stubblefield and Nate Jones provide the super tight rhythm section, whipping the number-one soul brother into a twisting dervish -- breathtaking.

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