James Brooowwwnn, James Brooowwwn
December 30, 2006 1:56 PM   Subscribe

JamesBrownNewYearsPlaylistFilter: What are some great, obscure gems from deep in the James Brown catalog?

It's New Year's Party time at Club Slarty and this year there will be even more JB than usual. I have my own favorites and of course a few standards but I want to funk up the place with a few jams no one's heard before.

Extra credit: Tracks by other artists that reference James Brown (I've got that terrible LA style song, Big Audio Dynamite's James Brown, Genius of Love).

Hit me with an email if you're in the Wallingford area of Seattle and are looking for something to do
posted by Slarty Bartfast to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have, or do you have access to, the four-disc Star Time box set?

I personally feel that "Mother Popcorn" is his best song, but you've probably already got that on your list (the full-length version, not the single or greatest-hits edit), if you are a right-thinking person.

"Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing" is one that I never hear unless I put it into the CD player myself, and it's one of my favorites.

I also vote for "Papa Don't Take No Mess":

Papa don't cuss.
He didn't raise a whole lot of fuss.
But when we done wrong
Papa beat the hell out of us. Unh.

posted by Prospero at 2:06 PM on December 30, 2006

King Heroin


posted by the cuban at 2:08 PM on December 30, 2006

Unity with Afrika Bambaataa is a great album.
posted by goo at 2:32 PM on December 30, 2006

And of course James Brown is Dead and its various responses.
posted by goo at 2:36 PM on December 30, 2006

I had an amazing album (actually a tape) years ago that was a compilation of songs from around 1970-1975. (no idea what it was called - maybe something like "dead on the funk"?)

This early 70s was when his backup band (the JBs) included maceo parker on sax, fred wesley on trombone and bootsie collins on bass. it may not be the most well known stuff, but it is mind-blowingly good and funky, and probably will sound familiar since it was so heavily sampled in later years. (e.g. funky drummer)

some juicy tracks:

* Get Up Offa That Thing
* Pass the peas
* Super bad
* Hot pants

(actually, come to think of it, i like almost everything from 1970-74... hard to choose!)
posted by kamelhoecker at 3:13 PM on December 30, 2006

The Soul Pride 1960-1969 collection is very excellent proto-funk instrumentals that hardly anyone is familiar with. Kind of expensive though. I guess it's out of print. Email me if interested.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 3:37 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

The Black Caesar soundtrack is a great album for chilling out, but it has my favorite James Brown song, "The Boss".
posted by Alison at 3:38 PM on December 30, 2006

"Not Now James, We're Busy" by Pop Will Eat Itself.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:30 PM on December 30, 2006

I have a track of JB on an xmas compilation album. The song is called "Soulful Christmas" in which he sings "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" and makes his standard references to "good God" and Maceo Parker. It's a must have for the occasion.
posted by quadog at 4:37 PM on December 30, 2006

yeah, king heroin
posted by vronsky at 5:11 PM on December 30, 2006

My two favorite tracks are "People Get Up (And Drive Your Funky Soul) (remix)," and "I Can't Stand It ('76)," probably in that order. I've listened to a lot of JB and I don't believe the horns and rhythm sections were ever tighter than on those two tracks, which is really saying something.

Any of the versions of Mother Popcorn are amusing too.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:22 PM on December 30, 2006

I'll second the Black Caesar soundtrack esp. The Boss, but maybe my favorite rare James Brown number is People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul, from Motherlode. It's guarenteed to get people on the dance floor.

Other great tracks off the top of my head:

I got the Feelin'
Give it up or Turn it Loose
Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved

(The last two are from In the Jungle Groove

I still can't believe the hardest working man in show business is gone...
posted by ob at 5:22 PM on December 30, 2006

Talking' Loud And Sayin' Nothing

(In which Bobby and James have a 30 second call and response duet.)

Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved

(An absolutely sick and perfectly-timed bridge.)

Make It Funky

"What you gon' play now?"
"Bobby, I don't know. But whatsomever I play, it's got to be funky."

Doing It To Death

(JB's band acrobatics at their best. "In order for me to get down I need to get in D. Down D. Funky D." And all of a sudden the song's in D.)
posted by Coda at 6:11 PM on December 30, 2006

Best answer: O-Dub at Soul Sides has the rarely heard "rock" version of "Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothin'" up for grabs. Go get it.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:21 PM on December 30, 2006

Gravity is one of the rare highlights of his later years. It's lighter and poppier than his 60's and 70's hits — a few tracks almost remind me of the Talking Heads — but it's far less painful than his attempts at disco and some of the tracks are pretty damn solid. My personal favorites are "Turn Me Loose, I'm Dr. Feelgood" and "Repeat The Beat (Faith)." Neither's exactly funky, but both have some jittery, intensely danceable energy going on.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:19 PM on December 30, 2006

(A lot of fans also see Gravity as a bit of a sellout. It had "Living In America" on it, which showed up on one of the Rocky soundtracks and was a bit of a pop hit — but which, frankly, wasn't very good. Your mileage may vary, but since you asked for less-known tracks I think it's worth a listen to see what you think of the rest of the album.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:27 PM on December 30, 2006

Somewhere in my travels I acquired a cassette tape with a JB tune on it that I believe is called "Papa's Got A Bag Of His Own." It's a got a super funky horn hook that I just love. It's one my favorite JB tunes. I've never heard it anywhere except on this tape.
posted by nonmyopicdave at 7:57 PM on December 30, 2006

Heh. Oops. That tune is "I've Got A Bag of My Own." (No "Papa" -- different tune.)
posted by nonmyopicdave at 8:03 PM on December 30, 2006

Best answer: I hope you'll include some of the JB-sampling tracks from Edan's Sound of the Funky Drummer hip-hop compilation, and the Double Dee and Steinski 'Lesson Part Two' JB megamix. And the various James Brown's Funky People albums showcase JB productions of Fred Wesley, Lyn Collins, Maceo Parker, etc. Maybe slip in something from Soul on Top as the capper.
posted by box at 9:12 PM on December 30, 2006

I've got two clips that a host from CBC provided to me of James Brown doing public service spots (retribution for one of his many arrests). One spot is for the american boyscouts and is a little ho-hum, but the second one has James telling us all how drugs are "super bad!" and people always get a kick out of that one.

My email is in my profile if you'd like a copy.
posted by furtive at 9:30 PM on December 30, 2006

Not James Brown, but a reference to the man. Check out Nino Ferrer's La Pelle Nera.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 9:59 PM on December 30, 2006

I want to funk up the place with a few jams no one's heard before

Go for any of the long jams on The Payback CD, recorded at a time when JB's band was at an absolute peak. It's got some amazing african/gospel/funk grooves that weren't hits, so few people have ever heard them. But they'll get a dancefloor moving, guaranteed.

Also, this 6-hour WFMU set from the husband of a MeFi member might be useful. It's full of amazing and little-known James Brown gems.
posted by mediareport at 11:06 PM on December 30, 2006

Bet you haven't heard this. Brown used to perform at Georgia Bulldogs college football games in the 1970s. The link is to a YouTube video, the song ("Dooley's Junkyard Dawgs", Dooley being the legendary Georgia coach at the time) playing along with football highlights.
posted by SuperNova at 11:06 PM on December 30, 2006

Deep in the catalog?

You mean deeeep in the catalog?

As my good friends at Turntable Lab say, fuck the originals and buy the James Brown's Funky People compilations.
Part I
Part II
Part III

Many people don't know this, but James Brown ran a record label for a while called People Records. He produced everything, and the JB's are the backing band on all of the cuts. These compilations are the best that label has to offer. There are some unusual versions of classic JB and JB's tracks, and some songs that you may have heard sampled more than a few times. They are absolutely fantastic.

Funky? Yes.
Obscure? Yes.
Essential? Absolutely.
posted by rachelpapers at 12:06 AM on December 31, 2006

Ooh, ooh, and you can play the JB tribute 'James Brown,' from the Ghetto Reality album. Save it for a lull in the set, though.
posted by box at 9:56 AM on December 31, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, metafilter. That Talkin Loud and Sayin Nothing rock version is great. And I'd never hear Soul on Top before, just downloaded the entire album. Happy New Year!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:19 AM on December 31, 2006

Just in case you're still working on this thing, here's some James Brown B3 stuff.
posted by box at 1:53 PM on December 31, 2006

And some JB-produced gospel, and some WFMU stuff.
posted by box at 2:04 PM on December 31, 2006

Oh, I'm a bit late, but James Brown's "Live At The Olympia" is a fantastic live album and somewhat obscure...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:39 PM on January 2, 2007

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