Sunday, February 28, 2010

mind power: it is what it is

Continuing on the solid roll which began in earnest with 1972's "Get On The Good Foot", "The Payback" was Brown's critically acclaimed response to director Larry Cohen's decision to drop it as the soundtrack to his blaxploitation cash in, "Hell Up in Harlem". On the grounds that it just wasn't "James Brown enough".

Every inch as tightly oiled and sprung as Brown's superior "Black Caesar" soundtrack - the prequel - Cohen, clearly, must have harboured ulterior motives in declining the finished 'product'. That, or his brain was simply addled by all that white powder stepped on up in East Harlem.

Whatever Cohen's underlying issue with it, the title track itself - co-written with John 'Jabo' Starks - more than lives up to its bad ass reputation, post mortem.

A crime scene endlessly revisited in all manner of drive-by samplings, ongoing forensics continue to yield results. PhUnk. Black Punk spits all over Legs McNeil.

A full three years earlier.
 Written by James Brown, Fred Wesley and Charles Bobbit.
Recorded February to October 1973.

JAMES BROWN: MIND POWER from "The Payback" 2 x LP (Polydor) 1973 (US)


Anto said...

great song from a great album. theres a brilliant essay by Julian Cope about this album which i read i think on his won site yrs back.

nice one ib, James is No.1 in my book.

ib said...

Anto. I have touched on this before, but JB did not 'click' with me until many - way too many - years after the fact.

Personally. I blame much of this on "The Blues Brothers'; a film and an era I continue to loathe in extremis.

Still. I'm making up for it now. Never let it be said you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who ever met Mr Brown in person (funny how naturally it came calling him just that), could not help notice how full of, well, James Brown, the Godfather was. And with that came certain, eh, peculiarities.
For anyone interested in latter day JB, author Jonathan Lethem wrote a good and lengthy piece in Rolling Stone back in 2006:

Bear over with me if the article has been mentioned here before - parts of the short-term memory has alarming white spots.

No problem coming late to the JB party, as Letham himself acknowledges. Better late than never. To paraphrase P-Funk: ain't no party like a JB party, 'cause a JB party don't stop!
I imagine JB still on the good foot, wherever funky place he might be.....
Still Anonymous