Brown, James

Band members                             Related acts

- James Brown (RIP) -- vocals, keyboards


  supporting musicans:

- Al Clark - sax (1965-)

- Joe Dupars - horns (1965-)

- Lucas Gander - keyboards (1965-)

- Alphonso Kellum - guitar (1965-)

- Jimmy Nolen - guitar (1965-)

- Maceo Parker (1965-)

- Melvin Parker - drums (1965-)

- St. Clair PIckney (1965-)

- Levi Rasbury - trumpet (1965-)

- Ron Tooley - horns (1965-)

- Eldee Williams - sax (1965-)



- Bootsy's Rubber Band

- The Fabulous Flames

- The J.B,'s






Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Papa's Got a New Bag

Company: King

Catalog: 938

Year: 1965

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4735

Price: $30.00


Any discography as long as James Brown's is bound to be confusing and convoluted.  Starting in 1964 the plotline really starts to get weird.  By 1964 Brown's relationship with King Records was in taters.  Apparently unaware, or simply unconcerned with the legal ramifications, Brown signed a contract with Mercury's Smash subsidiary.  (He subsequently said he thought his contract with King had expired.)  Over the next couple of months Brown released a string of albums and 45s on the new label.  That came to a crashing halt in May 1964 when King slapped him with an injunction on future releases.  Always a pragmatist, Brown subsequently agreed to return to the fold, but did so with an understanding he'd be granted greater artistic freedom.  He also gained the right to continue releasing instrumental albums on Smash.


As fate would have it, Brown's first new release for King proved to be a major hit.  'Papa's Got a New Bag (Parts 1 and 2)' topped the R&B charts and hit # 8 on the pop charts (King catalog number 45-5999).  The single's surprising success left King scrambling for a follow-on album.  As was standard mid-1960s marketing procedure, the result was the cleverly titled "Papa's Got a New Bag".  Gathering up a mix of previously released material, the quality on this one is pretty erratic (don't you love the big budget artwork?).  Highlights include the goofy 'Mashed Potatoes, U.S.A.', the old school 'This Old Heart' and 'You Don't Have To Go'.  Given the title track 45's represent in it's original two part version, most folks can probably live without this one, though propelled by the hit the parent album hit # 26.


"Papa's Got a New Bag" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Papa's Got a New Bag (Part 1)   (James Brown) - 1:55

2.) Papa's Got a New Bag (Part 2)   (James Brown) - 2:12

3.) Mashed Potatoes, U.S.A.   (James Brown) - 2:49

4.) Cross Firing   (James Brown) - 2:18

5.) Love Don't Love Nobody   (Ray Brown) - 2:02

6.) I Stay In the Chapel Every Night (Just Won't Do Right)   (James Brown) - 2:40

(side 2)
1.) And I Do Just What I Want   (James Brown) - 2:23

2.) This Old Heart   (James Brown) - 2:08

3.) Baby, You're Right   (James Brown - Joe Tex) - 3:05

4.) Have Mercy Baby   (Billy Ward) - 2:14

5.) You Don't Have To Go   (James Brown) - 2:42

6.) Doin' the Limbo (instrumental)    (James Brown) - 2:28




Genre: soul

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Ain't It Funky

Company: Kent

Catalog: KS 1092

Year: 1970

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1248

Price: $30.00


The fact of the matter is that by the late-'60s and early-'70s James Brown had turned music into a production line of funk.  A quick look at his discography shows in 1970 he release three studio sets; :Ain't It Funky", along with "Soul On Top", and "It's a New Day - Let a Man Come In".  Add to that catalog the live set "Sex Machine".    Given the sheer volume of material Brown was churning out, there was simply no way it could all be quality.


Against that backdrop, produced, arranged, and largely written by Brown, 1970's "Aint' It Funky" served as a perfect example of the quantity over quality issue confronting Brown and company.   To be charitable, this wasn't exactly a ground breaking effort.  The extended title track was the best thing on the album and had actually been previously released as a single.   Side two featured  what sounded like barebones instrumental demos, presumably recorded by The James Brown Band.  The tracks reflected material recorded at various 1967 through 1969 sessions and were mildly entertaining in a background music fashion, though after awhile the individual side two efforts tended to blur together.


"Ain't It Funkt" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ain't It Funky (Parts 1 and 2)   (James Brown) - 9:26

The title track had previously been released as an edited 'A" and 'B' side single (Kent catalog number 45-6280).  Musically this was pretty hard core funk, though it wasn't particularly innovative - Brown and the J.B.'s finding a taunt groove and working it to near death.  Hearing Brown sporadically tinker on the organ was mildly interesting (he could kind of play, though towards the end of the song it sounded like he was simply leaning on the keyboard).  To be honest, hearing Brown's interaction with the rest of the band was actually one of the album highlights.  Every time I hear Brown say "McNasty" I smile.   As good as the studio version is, Brown speeds the tempo up on a couple of live versions, making it even better.   rating: **** stars

2.) Fat Wood (Parts 1 and 2) (instrumental)   (James Brown - Jimmy Nolan) - 9:15

Folks tend to forget Brown's roots were in the blues; a fact underscored by the extended instrumental 'Fat Wood'.  Apparently intended as a showcase for Brown's skills on the Hammond, the performance was certainly better than on the earlier track, but the J.B. horn section basically blew him out of the water and stretched out over nine minutes this one quickly ran out of steam.   rating: ** stars

(side 2)
1.) Cold Sweat   (James Brown - Alfred Ellis) - 5:17

Great tune, though this instrumental version lacked the funk edge of the hit version.   rating: ** stars

2.) Give It Up or Turnit a Loose   (Charles Bobbitt) 3:45

Even in this instrumental demo format, 'Give It Up or Turnit Loose' was plenty funky.  Nah, it wasn't the classic tune we all know and love, but not a bad starting point.    rating: *** stars

3.) Nose Job   (James Brown - Bud Hobgood) - 2:30

'Nose Job' was funky, but surprising for featuring so much lead guitar.   One of the album's most interesting tunes.  rating; *** stars

4.) Use Your Mother   (James Brown) - 3:25

A nice funk groove that could have been amazing with a bit more attention and work.  rating: *** stars

5.) After You Done It   (James Brown) - 3:38

More jazzy than the rest of the set.  Less memorable than the rest of the set.   rating: ** stars


As mentioned, the single include on the album was:




- 1969's 'Aint It Funky' (Part 1) b/w 'Ain't It Funky' (Part 2) (Kent catalog number 45-6280) # 27 pop; # 3 R&B


Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Cold Sweat

Company: King

Catalog: 1020

Year: 1967

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4732

Price: $30.00

Cost: $66.00


Anyone listening to 1967's "Cold Sweat" has to agree that consistency has never been James Brown's forte. How the man could go from recording something as ground breaking and funky as the title track to a cover of 'Mona Lisa' or George Gershwin's 'I Loves You Porgy' (from Porgy and Bess') is simply beyond comprehension.  Technically the album liner notes were correct in proclaiming "all new great songs never in an album".  The problem with that marketing ploy was the fact that Brown had recorded much of the material back in 1964 and compared to the title track material such as 'Mona Lisa', 'I Want To Be Around' and 'Come Rain Or Come Shine' came off as little more than contractual obligation filler.  Be forewarned that the second side is heavy on over-orchestrated ballads and rather tough to get through.  I'm a big James Brown fan and have to admit that I've never been able to listen to the entire side in one sitting.

"Cold Sweat" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Cold Sweat Part 1   (James Brown - Alfred Ellis) - 

2.) Cold Sweat Part 2   (James Brown - Alfred Ellis) - 
3.) Fever
4.) Kansas City
5.) Stagger Lee
6.) Good Rockin' Tonight

(side 2)
1.) Mona Lisa
2.) I Want To Be Around
3.) Nature Boy
4.) Come Rain Or Come Shine
5.) I Loves You Porgy
6.) Back Stabbin' (instrumental)






Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Say It Loud I'm Black and Proud  

Company: King

Catalog: 5-1047

Year: 1969

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo sticker on back cover; original gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4734

Price: $30.00


The self-produced "Say It Loud I'm Black and Proud" is pretty standard late-1960s James Brown. In practical terms that means there are a couple of killer ground breaking numbers, a couple of okay efforts, and quite a bit of needless filler.  The 'socially relevant title track (note Brown's new hairstyle) and 'Licking Stick' clearly fall into the former category.  Both were released as singles, providing Brown with two of his bigger hits:


- 1969's 'Say It Loud - I'm Black and Proud (Parts 1 and 2) (King catalog number 45-5157)

- 1969's Licking Stick (Parts 1 and 2) (King catalog number 45-6166)


Elsewhere the R&B-ish 'I Guess I'll Have To Cry' and 'Goodbye My Love Pt 1 & 2'  (with a haunting guitar pattern) fall in the second category while the other seven tracks (including most of side two) fall in the third grouping.  Like so much of Brown's catalog, it leaves you to wonder what kind of commercial success he would have enjoyed had he been able to craft a thoroughly consistent album.


"Say It Loud I'm Black and Proud" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Say It Loud I'm Black and Proud (Part 1)   (James Brown - Alfred Ellis) - 

2.) Say It Loud I'm Black and Proud (Part 2)   (James Brown - Alfred Ellis) - 

3.) I Guess I'll Have To Cry, Cry, Cry   (James Brown) - 3:33

4.) Goodbye My Love (Pt 1 & 2)   (James Brown) - 5:31

5.) Shades of Brown (instrumental)   (Bud Hobgood) - 2:45

(side 2)
1.) Licking Stick   (James Brown - Alfred Ellis - Byrd) - 2:45

2.) I Love You   (James Brown - Kellum - Stbblefield) - 3:33

3.) Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye  (J.D. Loudermilk) - 3:52

4.) Let Them Talk   (Thompson) - 4:01

5.) Maybe I'll Understand   (James Brown - Bud Hobgood) - 3:17

6.) I'll Lose My Mind    (James Brown - Bud Hobgood - Byrd) - 2:44