James Brown

Give It Up or Turnit a Loose

Song Review by

"Give It Up or Turnit a Loose" had a looser feel than some of James Brown's other recordings. You can almost hear "the Godfather" directing the band at his own whim. Recorded in fall 1968 at Criteria Studios in Miami (later a recording base for the Bee Gees during their Saturday Night Fever days), the rhythm section was drummer Nate Jones, bassist Charles Sherrell, and guitarists Jimmy Nolan and "Country" Kellum. Basically a jam session, the track's influence can be heard on numerous recordings including Evelyn Champagne King's million-selling "Shame" (listen to Instant Funk's Kim Miller's telegraph-like guitar lines). One of the singer's distinctive screams was edited onto the beginning of the track for an exciting hook. Written by Brown's manager Charles Bobbitt, "Give It Up or Turnit a Loose" held the R&B top spot for two weeks and hit number 15 pop in spring 1969. An alternative version of the tune can be found on his Sex Machine LP. Some of the same licks were used in Brown's "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Cold Sweat & Other Soul Classics: James Brown 1987 Universal 3:10
Star Time 1991 Polydor 3:10
20 All-Time Greatest Hits! 1991 Polydor 3:11
40th Anniversary Collection 1996 Polydor 2:50
Worldwide 3 2003 Talkin Loud 5:32
Gold 2007 Polydor 2:52