Various Artists

Gimme Your Hand JB!

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This collection of tracks is a true anomaly in the James Brown catalog. Brown didn't necessarily sing most of these cuts, but he appears on most of them and introduces others. Artists like the mighty Hank Ballard -- in his out-of-the-limelight years -- Lyn Collins, Shirley Jean & the Relations, and Lee Austin perform a series of burning soul and funk tunes, seven of which Brown wrote or co-wrote. Others, such as Austin's killer and multivalent reading of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti," or the sheer harmonically sweet trio soul of Sly, Slick & Wicked on John "Sly" Wilson's, Charles "Slick" Still's and Terry Stubbs' "Sho' Nuff." Brown's vocal appearance with Lyn Collins on the Burt Bacharach classic "This Guy's in Love with You," re-titled "This Guy -- This Girl's in Love with you," is simply startling. Brown overworks his singing vocal a bit but the tune gets reinvented in the process with gorgeous hand drums, a big if somewhat muted horn section, and a funky-ass bass. Collins' vocal is stellar. On "Finger-Poppin' Time," Ballard is pure get down, taking the Brown charts and making them his own with a truly authoritative vocal performance. Ultimately, there isn't anything here to dislike. It's a solid comp, for true Brown fans, issued on CD -- finally -- by Japan's P-Vine label. Get it.

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