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James Brown: Love, Power, Peace (Polydor #513389)


Mr. Brown is - undoubtedly - one of the key influences upon almost all great contemporary Western musics, to be sure... And, his peak era live recordings are - again, undoubtedly - by far the best way for current audiences to first encounter said influence. Yet his most influential period is - currently - not understood via this medium. But the reason for this is simple...the live album that he (undoubtedly) recorded so as to represent his most awesome funk outfit at its height never came out at the time...since the key members of same left his embrace before it could be released. Consequently, these recordings were only issued decades later - and have thus never reallly garnered the attention they undoubtedly deserve...

...because, this happens to be the ULTIMATE extant James Brown live set...

The year was 1971, the place was Paris, and the night was hot. It began at around about the same peak as the highpoint of James’ previous best - the awesome Live at the Apollo Vol. II - only to (almost immediately) jack things further up...w/a brilliant rhythm guitar break/segueing into a further song - and then turning the heat up yet again...

...but, this is merely the start...

And, as a long-term fan of James Brown - well familiar with the (awesome) studio cuts of the period, not to mention the live recordings - I’d have to say that I had no idea that this particular live peak was actually attainable...

Because, by my estimation - starting at about track three - the awesomely driven physical groove delivered so far exceeds that offered by those well-known singles that we - literally - have no extant critical vocabulary capable of dealing with its high points. So...all I can say to you - here - is listen...

Cause this thing cooks well beyond anyone’s kinda control...

To be sure, James still drops in those awesomely controlled transitions between hardcore funk grooves & smoothly-driven soul balladry - just like he did in the old days - but, still...there’s no doubting that the sheer hardness of what moves here sheerly kills the singles. Just try, for example, this version of “Sex Machine”...and, there’s no contest. Harder, faster & much, much more savage...there’s simply no comparison.

If you buy no other James Brown...buy this album.

No other can compare...




John Henry Calvinist