JAMES BROWN: THE SINGLES VOLUME EIGHT: 1972-1973 (Label: Hip-O Select)

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Although he released over two hundred albums in his long career – which in itself is a staggering feat – James Brown was primarily a singles artist. The seven-inch 45 practically defined who he was in musical terms – they were his bread and butter as well as his creative raison d’être. Hip-O Select’s ongoing chronicle of the Godfather’s career as a singles artist continues with this eighth instalment, which spans just one year – 1972-1973. It’s packed with great stuff, and not just by Mr. Dynamite himself – the JB’s are featured (‘Pass The Peas’ and ‘Giving Up Food For Funk,’), as well as The James Brown Soul Train (‘Honky Tonk’), Fred Wesley & The JB’s (their US R&B chart topper, ‘Doing It To Death’ is featured as well as ‘You Can Have Watergate, Just Gimme Some Bucks And I’ll Be Straight’) and Brown’s duets with the lovely Lyn Collins (‘What My Baby Needs Now Is A Little More Lovin” and ‘This Guy – This Girl’s In Love With You’). Some of Brown’s 45s are truly awesome, ranging from incendiary funk workouts to sweet soul ballads. Highlights include the proto-rap anti-drug message song, ‘King Heroin,’ and the funk-powered ‘There It Is,’ ‘Get On The Good Foot,’ ‘The Boss’ – one of several singles lifted from Brown’s contributions to a couple of black action movies – and the irrepressibly funky ‘I Got Ants In My Pants.’ There’s also a previously unissued vocal version of the JB’s ‘Hot Pants Road’ which was the flipside of the cancelled single, ‘Nothing Beats A Try But A Fail’ (the compilation’s lead off cut). As with the previous volumes in the series, the liner notes and track-by-track annotation from Brown’s former tour manager, Alan Leeds, are exemplary and offer a crucial insight into the world of James Brown’s soul revue (it’s a pity, though, the print is so small!). A dynamite collection of funk and soul.
(CW) 4/5