James Brown

Mutha's Nature

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On Mutha's Nature, James Brown returned to a bass-heavy groove sound with a new J.B.'s band, which made for a funkier result than on recent albums, but he still wasn't coming up with slogans to match those of old -- "Give Me Some Skin" and "If You Don't Give a Dogone About It" just didn't rank with "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." And given that Brown largely buried his vocals in the mix, it wouldn't have been easy to tell if he did have something to say. (One time you could hear him, though, was on a cover of Gershwin's "Summertime" that Brown rewrote into a vaguely religious/environmentalist message song.) Brown hadn't been humbled by his recent lack of commercial success: "the King, as you've named me, has come back to set our musical record straight again like Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, and now Brown," he wrote in his liner notes. But the accomplishments didn't match the rhetoric.

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