Monday, January 6, 2014

40 Year Itch : Hollarin' Cussin', You Wanna Fight


After knocking out soundtracks for two 1973 blaxploitation classics, Black Caesar and Slaughter's Big Rip-Off, James Brown presented director Larry Cohen some new funk with tunes for a revenge thriller, a sequel to Hell Up in Harlem. That jive turkey Cohen turned him down, saying the songs sound like "the same old James Brown stuff". Maybe. But does it ever get much better than James Brown? In any case Brown had the last laugh when he released The Payback as a double album. The Payback needed all of two weeks to hit #1 on the Soul Charts. The first single was "Stoned to the Bone". The album version runs more than ten minutes as do three cuts on this funk fest which gives the JBs Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker plenty of room to burn.

    "Doing the Best I Can" changes the mood considerably. James Brown's eldest son Teddy had died in a car accident during the making of the album. This is the sound of a grieving father in torment.

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