James Brown

The Singles, Vol. 6: 1969-1970

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The amazing, exhausting project documenting the complete singles of the late James Brown, rolls on with this stunning sixth volume. These 38 tracks follow Brown through a mere two years in his astonishing career. Of course, in 1970, Brown was still going strong on the charts and in the popular consciousness even though he had lost his Flames by that time. Maceo Parker remained with Brown as his creative partner and foil, he also employed the great Pee Wee Ellis as arranger,and his main drummer was the brilliant Clyde Stubblefield.

Fans of this series already know that Brown was an impulsive, even obsessive taskmaster when it came to documenting the ideas he and the band came up with. They recorded on the road as well as at King's studios, and on stages all over the nation. Whenever some jam came together, they recorded it -- even if it mutated itself into several other compositions. A-sides and B-sides were different depending on whether the disc was released as a promotional item or as a record for retail. All of that is painstakingly documented here, just as it was on previous volumes. Major selections on this set include the various mutations and versions of the Brown classic "Mother Popcorn." Long before the track emerged in that form it began as "You Got to Have a Mother for Me, Pt. 1" (the original prototype), and of course, "The Popcorn." Other smashes here include both parts of "Ain't It Funky Now," "Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothin'," "Brother Rapp," "World," "I'm Shook," his reading of "Georgia on My Mind," and the funk whomp Christmas single "It's Christmas Time," just to name a few. This is a killer collection simply for its more open, new directional approach which Brown and Ellis were developing with the band. The liners are, as has been the standard, incredibly detailed with full session and discographical information -- there's even an analysis of Stubblefield's drumming patterns -- by Alan Leeds. For anyone who has begun collecting this series, you have little choice but to continue with this excellent volume. For anyone considering it, this may be a daunting project to take in, but in many ways, it's the only way to truly appreciate the full range and depth of Brown's genius.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:53
2 05:19 Amazon
3 05:22 Amazon
4 03:06
5 02:49 Amazon
6 03:35
7 03:18
8 03:31 Amazon
9 02:51
10 03:04
11 02:49 Amazon
12 03:17
13 03:07
14 02:47 Amazon
15 02:49
16 03:11
17 02:59
18 03:06 Amazon
19 03:06 Amazon
20 02:56
blue highlight denotes track pick