VARIOUS ARTISTS: ‘The Godfather’s R&B’ (Label: BGP)

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: 'The Godfather's R&B'

In 1967, ‘The Godfather of Soul,’ James Brown, hit the funk mother lode with a vengeance when he released a 45 called ‘Cold Sweat.’ It was a song that was revolutionary in terms of its construction, rhythms and content. In fact, ‘Cold Sweat’ with its hypnotic vamp was the culmination of several years of bold experimentation by Brown, who was constantly pushing the R&B envelope. The syncopated musical gene that started soul music’s funk mutation can be clearly heard on this sterling 22-track compilation, which spans the years 1962-1967 and brings together some fantastic R&B sides Mr. Dynamite helmed for both his sidemen and acts that performed as part of his legendary soul revue. The set opens with an uptempo corker, ‘I Don’t Care,’ by Dizzy Jones and include great sides by Famous Flame James Crawford (‘Got No Excuse’), Anna King (‘That’s When I Cry’), Vicki Anderson (‘Wide Awake In A Dream’), Bobby Byrd (‘I’m Lonely’) and Yvonne Fair (the spunky ‘It Hurts To be In Love’). The vocal groups The Five Royales and The Jewells are also featured as well as the Godfather himself, who contributes the jazzy, horn-led instrumental ‘New Breed (The Boo-ga-loo)’ (interestingly, ‘Devil’s Den,’ a blues-infused organ-fronted instrumental is also a Brown track, though it’s attributed to The Poets). There’s also an infectious slice of sermonising gospel-soul present in the shape of ‘That’s The Spirit’ by the Reverend Willingham. The final cut is a plaintive slow ballad called ‘I Cried’ by Tammy Montgomery, a young protégé of Brown’s originally from Philly who quit the revue and went to Motown where she morphed into Tammi Terrell. Overall, a great collection of super dynamite soul.
(CW) 4/5