(5 / 5)
If we played some word association, and I said, “Funk”, many would come straight back with “James Brown”, surely. The undisputed Godfather of the genre.
But by his side were a bunch of fabulous funkateers who were as important to his success and the sheer force of his music as he was. Ladies and gentlemen, the hardest working band in showbusiness; I give you, The J.B.’s.
Here we have three of their albums on two CDs, all produced by James Brown, whose voice on lead vocals on some of the cuts is unmistakable.
Along the star-studded ranks of the J.B.’s to feature across these tracks are legendary trombone man Fred Wesley, ace sax’ star Maceo Parker, bass superstar William (Bootsy) Collins, multi-instrumentalist and singer Bobby Byrd and the king of “in the pocket” Clyde Stubblefield – aka the Funky Drummer who has been sampled on countless hip hop and r&n tracks across decades – plus many other famous J.B.’s.
The Robinsongs label have packed up The J.B.’s albums “Food For Thought”, “Doing It To Death” and “Damn Right I Am Somebody”, the latter billed as Fred Wesley & The J.B.’s, in one double CD package.
Featuring hit funk tracks such as “Gimme Some More”, “Pass The Peas”, “Hot Pants Road”, “The Grunt”, “Escape-ism”, “More Peas” and the number one r&Bb single “Doing It To Death”.
There are a few decent instrumentals here among the vocal cuts, like the mesmerising “Theme From King Heroin”.
The “Damn Right I Am Somebody” album gave Fred Wesley lead billing as band leader, recorded during the same session as James Brown “The Payback” album.
We all need a morale boost in these trying times, and here we have the perfect excuse to get up off the couch, take off the mask and get some cardio exercise by shaking a tail feather or two to these 38 funky tracks, in the comfort of our own home. “Shall I take it to the bridge?”….
That’s the Brooklyn bridge, by the way; not the Bristol suspension bridge!
By Sally Fox
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’