James Brown / Eddie Floyd

Remembering Roots of Soul, Vol. 3: Soul Brothers

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Although there's much fine early-'60s soul music on this CD, it's a curious and rather arbitrary pairing of two albums by different artists, the slender common bond being that they happened to have been issued in the U.K. by the Ember label. The first 12 tracks are the ones that comprised James Brown's early-'60s LP The Amazing James Brown, which was retitled Tell Me What You're Gonna Do when it was issued in the U.K. in 1964 (as the first of Brown's studio albums to become available in Britain). Under whatever title it was released, this was about as good as an early-'60s soul album got, catching Brown just at the point where he was moving from gospel-fired R&B to dynamic, jazzy, and rhythmically innovative soul. The ballads "I Don't Mind" and "Lost Someone" were pretty big hits, but the rest of the tracks are in same ballpark of quality and cover a lot of ground. Covers of jump blues (Roy Brown's "Love Don't Love Nobody") and doo wop (Billy Ward's "The Bells") are homages to Brown's roots, but the funky jazz licks and eccentric tempos in "Dancin' Little Thing" and "And I Do Just What I Want" are clear signposts to the singer's mid-'60s funk breakthroughs. The eight Eddie Floyd tracks were recorded circa 1962-1964 (the lengthy liner notes are frustratingly cloudy about the exact dates) for the LuPine and SAFICE labels, and collected for an LP release by Ember in the U.K. in the mid-'60s. Nowhere in the notes or cover, mind you, is it divulged what the title of that LP was, though a scan of available discographical references indicates that this was probably the LP titled Looking Back. Anyway, these are decent, though not great, early Floyd sides that show him, like many singers of the era, moving from group vocal doo wop-soaked sounds to early soul, sometimes awkwardly, but sometimes with considerable elan. The up-tempo early Motown-like numbers ("The Whip," "Bye Bye Baby") are quite good, and the ballads less impressive. This isn't the optimum package for collecting either the Brown or Floyd music, but if you're not too fussy about what shape it arrives in, there are some very good sounds here, particularly in the Brown portion.

blue highlight denotes track pick