“The Godfather Of Soul.” “Mr. Dynamite.” “Soul Brother Number One.” “The Minister Of Super Heavy Funk.” “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.” James Brown had many nicknames – all hard-earned and well-maintained. His concerts were beyond belief, militantly-organized and efficiently executed exhibitions of showbiz razzle-dazzle that oozed of swagger, sweat and skill. And all of it has been documented in an exhaustive catalog of nearly 80 albums, several which are double-LPs and landmark live releases. Yet, many of his full-length titles are out of print physically or available only as exorbitantly-priced imports. Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) releases a series of James Brown albums digitally for the first time.
James Brown, with a career spanning six decades, was a true showman until the end. For many, his instantly recognizable voice defines the sound of black music. His influence on nearly every genre of popular is incalculable, reaching everyone from veteran superstars such as Prince and The Who to contemporary cool cats like Snoop Dogg and Jack White; stage icons from Jagger to Jackson emulated his stage moves. He is, justifiably, a charter inductee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His Famous Flames – Bobby Byrd, Bobby Bennett, Baby Lloyd Stallworth and Johnny Terry – were inducted into the Rock Hall during this year’s ceremonies.
The following James Brown albums will be available digitally:
While many of James Brown’s hits can be found on numerously available compilations on the market as well as in digital form, fans will now be able to download full albums they haven’t seen in years, beginning with The Amazing James Brown (1961), which includes his hit ballad tour-de-force “Lost Someone,” and ending with 1976s’ disco heavy Body Heat.
The rest of the titles offer a treasure trove from his tenure on the King and Polydor labels and even his own People Records imprint. The title songs from I Got You (I Feel Good), Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag, It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World, and Cold Sweat have become soul music staples, and it was on the latter album in particular that Brown began to bridge the gap between gospel-infused R&B and full-blown funk by introducing heavier percussive elements and an even more powerful singing style into his ever-changing sound. The albums Pure Dynamite! Live At The Royal Theater and Live At The Garden, from 1964 and 1967 respectively, offer up further proof as to why Brown and his dynamic vocal group The Famous Flames were one of the best concert acts on the planet. First-rate late ’60s/early ’70s breakbeat -packed platters like The Popcorn, It’s A Mother, Ain’t It Funky, Super Bad, and Get Up Offa That Thing have gained legendary status and respect among future funkateers and hip-hop icons as the source of many a sample. Also noteworthy is the inclusion of the first release from the iconic James Brown’s Funky People series, documenting Brown’s People Records imprint from the early to mid ‘70s during which time he released a slew of top shelf material from members of his backing band. Included in Vol. 1 are full-length workouts from Fred Wesley & The J.B.’s, Lyn Collins, and Maceo & the Macks, highlighted by “Gimme Some More,” “Think (About It)” and “Parrty.”