James Brown’s Funky People, Part 3
This lovably, obscure, odd-lot compilation won’t win any sales prizes, but you could do much worse than to explore the history of funk through it.
Comprised of bits and pieces that James Brown cast off to his friends and bandmates, it nevertheless has its share of historic moments:
Hank Ballard tells fellow blacks that they won’t get any respect if they don’t get rid of their “processed,” or straightened (usually with lye), hairstyle, which he sees as a remnant from the just-past “negro” days. Hank says he used to wear a process but now has chosen, as a political statement, to wear a “natural” Afro, one more suitable for a beautiful black brother or sister. (In a delicious touch of irony, backing vocals for this black empowerment anthem are provided by The Dapps, the lone all-white group signed to James Brown Productions.)
Instead of these piecemeal comps, Polydor needs to just drop a 95-disc box set of every known JB recording, with maybe a holographic soul sister research archivist (wearing HOT PANTS, no doubt) to help you sort through it all.
This would be one of the discs on that set; it’s not the most incendiary of them, but it is another piece of the vast and beautiful mosaic created for us by James Brown and these amazing musicians over a period of decades.