James Brown

The Best of James Brown & Friends, Vol. 3 [20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection]

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Just about every single artist in the Universal-distributed 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection series is given one brief volume (containing an average of about 40 minutes of career highlights), but James Brown has been given four. The first volume traipses through the '50s, '60s, and '70s; the second volume concentrates on the '70s; the third volume (though not billed as such) is all Christmas. And now this one, billed as the third volume, is credited to James Brown & Friends, even though half of the selections are credited strictly to James Brown ("My Thang," "There It Is," "Funky Drummer"). A few of Brown's best spinoffs and associations -- Lyn Collins' "Think," Bobby Byrd's "I Know You Got Soul," Marva Whitney's "What Do I Have to Do to Prove My Love to You" -- form the core of the disc. There's no denying the greatness of the music here, but it has been compiled in a number of preferable configurations.

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