James Brown

Masters [Cleopatra]

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Not a compilation of James Browns' studio tracks but live recordings from two venues. Brown taped the first 15 at Chastain Park (CP) in Atlanta, GA, and tracks 16 through 27 at Studio 54 in New York City. You have some duplications with the Studio 54 recordings' outshining the CP tracks every time. On many of the CP tracks, Browns' illustrious band sounds surprisingly lethargic. The Studio 54 tracks have superior dynamics, the band and Brown, seem more alive. His hot female backing vocalist, however, came to play at both places spicing everything they touch, especially the crying ballads: "Try Me," "Georgia on My Mind," and the soulful "It's a Man's World/Lost Someone" medley. They're sassy and soulful on upbeat jams like "The Payback," and "Doing It to Death." It's been decades since Bootsy Collins played with Brown but you hear his influence on "Sex Machine," and "Get on the Good Foot," where the bassist clones' Collins' robotic basslines. Not as breathtaking or innovative as the spellbinding Live at the Apollo but proves a James Brown Concert is still a good value for your bucks.

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