James Brown

The Singles, Vol. 4: 1966-1967

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This is the fourth double-disc installment in James Brown's The Singles. Producers have once again outdone themselves with their strict attention to detail -- in audio fidelity as well as within the text of the information-laden liner notes -- while tackling the formidable task of restoring Brown's prolific and at times confounding 45 rpm catalog. Vol. 4 covers the nearly two dozen 7" Brown-related platters that came out during 1966 and 1967. And although the artist chose to occasionally recycle songs, that still breaks down to almost one 45 a month. Exemplifying that phenomenon is the remixed and truncated version of "This Old Heart." It first surfaced in August of 1966 as the B-side to "How Long Darling" -- both of which had been released respectively a year earlier. While these discographical detours are few and far between, they help illuminate some of the challenges continually facing co-producers Harry Weinger and Alan Leeds. Those anomalies aside, the mid-'60s were sho'nuf a golden time for the Godfather of Soul as reflected by the enormous chart success of "Ain't That a Groove," "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," "Money Won't Change You," "Don't Be a Dropout," "Think," "Let Yourself Go," and "Cold Sweat." Ever the savvy artist -- and in order to maneuver around various legal obstacles -- Brown didn't just issue singles under his own moniker. While the vast majority came out as James Brown & His Famous Flames, the instrumental covers of Martha & the Vandellas' "Jimmy Mack," Ray Charles' "Let's Go Get Stoned," Ruby & the Romantics' "Our Day Will Come," and the Alfred Ellis original "What Do You Like" are specifically credited to "James Brown at the Organ." Meanwhile Parts One and Two of "New Breed," "James Brown's Boo-Ga-Loo," and "Lost in a Mood of Changes" were simply listed as James Brown. Then there is the case of the previously unreleased two-part "It's a Gas." It was a scheduled, but ultimately unrealized project by "the James Brown Dancers." Other inclusions of interest are the 1966 seasonal trilogy of singles with two different takes of Mel Tormé's "Christmas Song" aka "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire," and Parts One and Two of the Brown co-compositions "Sweet Little Baby Boy" and "Let's Make Christmas Mean Something This Year." Plus, a few "hidden" promotional messages from Soul Brother #1. Once again, Alan Leeds' copious essay and detailed annotations put the 42 songs in proper historical perspective. The words are literally encased by all manner of photos and reproductions of vintage memorabilia from the James Brown archives. Last, but certainly not least is Seth Foster's digital mastering as he brings more life into the grooves than has ever existed before.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:37 Amazon
2 01:46 Amazon
3 02:39 Amazon
4 02:23 Amazon
5 02:48 Amazon
6 02:58 Amazon
7 02:17 Amazon
8 01:56 Amazon
9 02:46 Amazon
10 02:22 Amazon
11 02:35 Amazon
12 03:45 Amazon
13 01:42 Amazon
14 02:44 Amazon
15 02:44 Amazon
16 02:43 Amazon
17 02:47 Amazon
18 02:54 Amazon
19 02:37 Amazon
20 02:53 Amazon
21 02:57 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:54 Amazon
2 03:24 Amazon
3 03:01 Amazon
4 02:46 Amazon
5 02:37 Amazon
6 01:56 Amazon
7 03:22 Amazon
8 03:00 Amazon
9 02:27 Amazon
10 02:35 Amazon
11 02:46 Amazon
12 03:01 Amazon
13 02:49 Amazon
14 03:37 Amazon
15 01:57 Amazon
16 02:53 Amazon
17 03:15 Amazon
18 03:50 Amazon
19 03:54 Amazon
20 03:44 Amazon
21 03:55 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick