The Singles, Vol. 11: 1979-1981

James Brown

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The Singles, Vol. 11: 1979-1981 Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Why was disco such a strange era for James Brown? Could it be that the beat was too relentless, never giving him the opportunity to breathe, to roam the way he loved so? Perhaps it was due to his band steadily losing all of its prime players, leaving him with journeymen who didn't infuse the rigid 4/4 with flair. Either way, the singles collected on the 11th and final volume of Hip-O Select's series of double discs chronicling James Brown's King/Polydor singles is a little haphazard, flitting between the generic, the perfunctory, and the passable, sometimes sliding into the pretty good. Brown is all over the place here, covering "I Go Crazy" with little passion, pumping out the disco and surprisingly coming up with a quiet storm ballad "Regrets" that flirts with country. The inclusion of nine 12" mixes -- including versions of "For Goodness Sakes, Look at Those Cakes," "The Spank," and "It's Too Funky in Here" -- and a live single accentuates the scattershot nature of these three years, and while there are certainly worthwhile moments, they're the kind only the devoted, the ones who have stuck through this series through ten preceding volumes, will find of note.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 James Brown 04:25 SpotifyAmazon
2 James Brown 04:40 SpotifyAmazon
3 James Brown 03:55 SpotifyAmazon
4 James Brown 04:39 SpotifyAmazon
5 James Brown 04:03 SpotifyAmazon
6 James Brown 04:12 SpotifyAmazon
7 James Brown 04:13 SpotifyAmazon
8 James Brown 04:00 SpotifyAmazon
9 James Brown 03:26 SpotifyAmazon
10 James Brown 04:14 SpotifyAmazon
11 James Brown 04:57 SpotifyAmazon
12 James Brown 04:45 SpotifyAmazon
13 James Brown 03:28 SpotifyAmazon
14 James Brown 04:11 SpotifyAmazon
15 James Brown 04:37 SpotifyAmazon
16 James Brown 03:54 SpotifyAmazon
17 James Brown 02:59 SpotifyAmazon
18 James Brown 03:36 SpotifyAmazon
James Brown 03:01 SpotifyAmazon
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