Tuesday, 1 July 2014

REWIND: James Brown - 'Take Some, Leave Some'

In the early 1970s, soul legend James Brown faced criticism from the black community about his endorsement of President Richard Nixon. He also had to deal with one of the greatest tragedies of his life, the death of his eldest son Teddy Brown who was killed in an automobile accident in June  1973. These experiences inspired Brown to create the album that was to be his masterpiece: 'The Payback'.

He channeled the pain of black America into the savage energy that screams from the heart of the LP. Just hear it in his voice on the astonishing title track. This classic 1973 album captures Brown at his peak, one of history's greatest innovators at the very top of his game as a writer, arranger, producer, composer, conductor and performer. The tracks run freely at often liberal lengths, allowing each song's possibilities to be explored and accomplished to striking effect. Rather than track lengths being trimmed, the arrangements and musical structures were slimmed down to reveal the leanest, most impacting grooves possible. Putting bags of seriously savvy attitude to some irresistibly addictive horn hooks and hard, commanding rhythms, 'Take Some, Leave Some' is THE very definition of cool.

The album was originally intended to be the soundtrack for the motion picture 'Hell Up in Harlem'. Brown claims that producer Larry Cohen didn't think the title track was "funky enough." WHAT???  “It’s not funky enough,” Brown remembered the producer telling him. “What? Not funky enough? I invented funky,” Brown stated. The film deal fell through, and Edwin Starr ended up soundtracking the film instead. The Payback’s liner notes were written by Alan Leeds, and reflected the struggles many African Americans suffered, ending with: “it’s time for payback, the big payback. It’s hard, but it’s fair because now it’s time for even the godfather to shoot his best shot and payback is gonna be a mutha!”


No comments:

Post a Comment