Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, July 8, 2013

James Brown - The CD of JB: Sex Machine & Other Soul Classics (1985)

Mr. Dynamite.  Soul Brother No. 1.  The Godfather of Soul.  The only James Brown disc in my collection and the only one I need (with the possible exception of the CD of JB II).  In 1985, CDs were just being commercially released; this was one of Polydor's first efforts in the emerging market.  The result is a poorly mixed, poorly sequenced CD, but even those flaws can't hurt this collection of songs.  18 tracks clocking in at about 55 minutes, covering the years 1956-1974.  Hearing the earlier '50s ballads among the grittier, funkier '60s stuff is an interesting mix; chronological might have been a better way to go.  Brown holds the record as the artist to have charted the most singles on the Billboard Hot 100 without ever hitting the top spot on that chart.  That's just not right.  Brown has been honored by many institutions including inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. Brown is ranked 7th on Rolling Stone's list of its 100 greatest artists of all time.

Brown certainly had performing talents but his real gifts were to find material that suited him and to surround himself with excellent musicians that could flat out groove. His funky riffs are probably the most sampled ever.  Brown's songs were so heavily sampled, that by 1991, a Dutch group released the classic techno single, James Brown Is Dead, meaning that he'd been sampled enough, let him rest.  Alive for another 15 years, Brown passed into immortality in 2006. 

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks:  They're all good.  My favorite today is Sex Machine.  Can we hit it and quit?

Interestingly, I Got You included here is an early version of I Got You (I Feel Good) culled from the withdrawn 1964 album, Out of Sight.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  I believe this disc was a gift from my friend Jim.

I have another friend who spent several years teaching 5th grade math in a very culturally and ethnically diverse school.  He would often play music in his classroom.  According to him, the only music he could play that ALL students were already familiar with was James Brown.

One of my favorite toys is my "Dancin' Shoutin' James Brown" doll that sings and dances to I Got You.

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