Archive for the ‘James Brown & The Famous Flames’ Category

Ben E. King

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Listen: What Is Soul? / Ben E. King

Bob Gallo’s name, like Ben E. King’s, always draws me in. The two have written together for decades. As well, Bob has produced a bulk of recordings, not only for Ben E. King, but also Atlantic Records, including The Young Rascals’ ‘Groovin’. This guy has basically worked on every kind of music from James Brown & The Famous Flames’ ‘It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World’ to ? & The Mysterians’ ’96 Tears’.

‘What Is Soul’ was oddly a non hit at pop when released in ’66. Despite being the B side to ‘They Don’t Give Medals to Yesterday’s Heroes’, ‘What Is Soul’ suddenly got play in Detroit, New York and Washington DC, so Atco repressed it, changing the label copy to indicate ‘What Is Soul’ as the plug side. It’s under performance from RnB radio’s listeners, entering Billboard’s Soul chart for a mere two weeks, and peaking at #38, discouraged the label to attempt spreading the record Top 40. A very pop leaning song structure may have been the culprit to the hardcore, but I still think, what a missed opportunity every time I play it.

James Brown & The Famous Flames

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Listen: Cold Sweat (Part 2) / James Brown & The Famous Flames JamesBrownColdSweat2.mp3

“Excuse me while I do the boogaloo”.

And meanwhile the rest of us can try finding ‘Cold Sweat (Part 2)’ on any number on James Brown comps and anthologies. Well don’t waste your time.

The full seven/eight minute take is out there, but not the original two part monos like on the 7″. That’s the problem with many reissues. Someone goes back, finds the master – the stereo master that is, cleans it up and sells the ‘remastered version’. Never the two mono sides from the original single. We’re supposed to get excited about this? What it really means is all the good stuff gets scraped off, leaving something clean and polished, and dull.

That’s why the oldies stations don’t ultimately get me excited. All those remastered versions of ‘California Girls’ or ‘The Sounds Of Silence’, as if we need to hear them ever again to start, come off sterile and missing something. The dirt, that’s what.

Well here’s the mono ‘Cold Sweat (Part 2)’ before the wash and wax.