BROWN, JAMES – James Brown Sings Raw Soul

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"'James Brown Sings Raw Soul' came out in 1967, but its hard to tell when a lot of these tracks were recorded. The King label was well known for their shoddy albums that slammed tracks together in ways that made no sense and then package it in a cheap album cover with zero musician credits. This is a very diverse set of tracks that are arranged in sequences that make no sense. If this was a DJ set, said DJ would be fired on the spot as high energy numbers collide with ballads and there is just no congruence anywhere, but the saving grace for this album is James’ monster talent comes shining through on several of the songs.

This album was released during a time when James was transitioning from his old school RnB game and moving towards the new funk sound. This would be around the time when he was hitting the public with 'I Feel Good' and 'Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud'. There are several very good funk numbers on here, including 'Money won’t Change You', 'Let Yourself Go' and a couple others. 'Tell Me that You Love Me' is an insane piece of high energy rhythm that verges on chaos, but for whatever reason, it fades out after only a couple minutes. There are a couple of good classic James Brown power ballads, but when he starts screeching on the old jazz ballad, 'The Nearness of You', you will be happy when that one fades too.

Then there’s the odd numbers, 'Yours and Mine', is a sort of easy listening instrumental with a very good vibes solo running throughout, too bad we don’t know who is playing it. 'Stone Fox' is a rock-n-roll instrumental with an unaccredited guitar player doing his best Chuck Berry riffs, albeit slightly out of tune. 'Till Then' is a sentimental pop ballad with heavily reverbed background female vocals that sound like they belong at an Elvis recording session. Yeah, papa has a real mixed bag here, but there are enough really good tracks to make it worthwhile for the James Brown fan, and there is also just enough ironic oddness for folks who like that sort of thing too."    

- JS,

A1 Bring It Up
A2 Don't Be A Drop Out
A3 Till Then
A4 Tell Me That You Love Me
A5 Yours And Mine
A6 Money Won't Change You (Part 1)
B1 Money Won't Change You (Part 2)
B2 Only You
B3 Let Yourself Go
B4 The Nearness Of You
B5 Nobody Knows
B6 Stone Fox