I just wrapped up 71 songs, 4 hours and 54 minutes worth of the hardest working man in show business, Mr. Please, Please Himself, the Godfather of Soul, the one and only James Brown. This massive gathering of R&B and funk, the comprehensive collection “Star Time”, covers a large time span of his career, but I sequenced it in the mid-1960s as he was hitting his peak. This definitive album is the #54 album on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Some key thoughts… first off, James Brown was a bad dude. We heard it earlier live at the Apollo Theater, but you get it on full display and with top notch studio production here. Secondly, he had a phenomenal collection of artists who played in his band and provided the backing vocals. They were tight, and really added to the greatness of the sound. Third, if you ever wondered where about 87% of early hip-hop samples came from, they can probably be found somewhere on this record.
So many timeless hits on this album… “Try Me” and “I’ll Go Crazy”, with the Famous Flames, take you back to that smokin’ night at the Apollo. “Night Train”, “It’s a Man’s World”, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine”, “Super Bad”, “Get Up Offa That Thing”, and of course, “I Got You (I Feel Good)”. Live in concert, it is quite the spectacle when a top performer takes control of the building, and in his prime, it is hard to imagine anyone with a more dominant and commanding stage presence than James Brown.
71 songs later, my life is much groovier, funkier and just more colorful than it was the day before. Get down like James Brown…