James Brown is featured here with the then newly formed J.B.'s — the maestro's second great band, including Bootsy Collins, Phelps Collins, Jabo Starks, Bobby Byrd, and Fred Wesley. Live at the Apollo had caught James Brown the '50s gospel/R&B singer; Love Power Peace captures James Brown the funkster. In the early '70s Brown turned up the funk, recording such litanies for Black America as "Ain't It Funky Now," "Sex Machine," "Give It Up or Turn It Loose," "Super Bad," "Get Up, Get into It, Get Involved," and "Soul Power." They're all here, along with revved-up, white-hot versions of the early- and middle-period classics. Brown had planned to release this as a triple album in 1971. When several bandmembers left shortly after it was recorded, Brown switched from King to Polydor Records, leading him to scrap it and record a new studio album instead. In 1992, Polygram decided to make the recording available for the first time. (AMG).
Absolutely sensational, this is as good as "Live at the Apollo (1962)," and much better if you're a funk fan. It has a wonderful live ambient sound, as with the best live albums, you can feel and see the show through the sound. With JB, that means, a visceral experience of sweat and cries and dancing, and an audience that is screamingly his.
The fun "Brother Rapp" blends into one of the best ever funk/rock performances on record: "Ain't It Funky Now." James Brown's intense vocals and squeals are matched by a Phenomenal guitar solo by Phelps (Catfish) Collins... loaded with power, funk, and a daring non-melodic break. Simply unmatched-play this loud and watch your friends' jaws drop wide open in amazement. JB plays organ, and his cool nocturnal sounds echo over the applause and whistles of the crowd. It is a great display of musical sexuality.
"Georgia" slows things down a bit, but it's a very soulful and intense vocal effort by JB. The problem is the humdrum arrangement of the horns and strings. In general, the horns are not as inspired as on other records, particularly those that feature funk master Maceo Parker. In addition, the horns are not miked as well as they could have been. However, Phelps Collins' guitar makes up for the slightly disappointing horns, and brother Bootsy Collins plays a tight, loud, and imaginative bass (pre-slap funk style, but still compelling).
"Bewildered," one of two non-JB composed songs on the CD, features a throwback Sam Cooke-like vocal by Brown, and some tasty bass. JB changes the dynamics well, both within and between songs: Listen to the transition between "Bewildered" and the funk anthem "Sex Machine."
Bobby Byrd adds his deep, burnished voice to "Sex Machine," which features strong drumming by "Jabo" Starks and "Tiger" Martin and funkified rhythm guitar by Hearlon "Cheese" Martin. There is absolutely astonishing jazz/funk guitar work from Phelps, which makes this a masterpiece. This is just one of several songs that alone make the album indispensable.
As if announcing that he's into a new bag, JB devotes only 90 seconds to a medley of "Poppa's Got a Brand New Bag," " I Got You (I Feel Good)" and I Got the Feelin,'" before Bootsy lays down a compelling bass riff on the 5 minute funk-dance song, "Give it Up or Turnit a Loose." Then it's almost six minutes of the greatest sexist song of them all: "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," where he famously mixes male braggadocio with a well-intended (?) paean to females ("...but it wouldn't be nothin' without a woman or a girl"). It's one of his best performances of this song, with a fabulous tension-building lead-in from JB and Bobby Byrd. The crowd goes wild.
The concert seems to end with "Please, Please, Please (2:09)" but, after Byrd goes through the credits, JB finishes with "Super Bad," an extremely funky "Soul Power," and the political "Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved" (the latter featuring Phelps' guitar). "Super Bad" features some great tenor sax by St. Clair Pinckney; one wishes there were more of him on the album.
James Brown directs both the band and the ecstatic listeners with controlled abandon throughout. An album to play often and loud; it ranks with "Foundations of Funk (a two-record set with great work by Maceo Parker)" and "Live at the Apollo." Note: The liner notes list personnel but only briefly describe this electrifying night.
A must for JB fans and anyone with an interest in the birth of the funk. Get it! (Customer from Amazon).
02. Brother Rapp
03. Ain't It Funky Now (Organ - James Brown)
04. Georgia On My Mind
05. It's A New Day
07. Sex Machine
08. Try Me
09. Medley (Papa's Got A Brand New Bag-I Got You (I Feel Good)-I Got the Feelin')
10. Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose
11. It's A Man's Man's Man's World
12. Please Please Please
13. Sex Machine (Reprise)
14. Super Bad
15. Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved
16. Soul Power
17. Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved (Finale)
Vocals - Bobby Byrd, James Brown
Bass - William "Bootsy" Collins
Conductor - Dave Matthews
Drums - John Jabo Starks, Don Juan "Tiger" Martin
Guitar - Phelps "Catfish" Collins, Hearlon Cheese Martin
Organ - Bobby Byrd
Saxophone [Tenor] - St-Clair Pinckney
Trombone - Fred Wesley
Trumpet - Clayton "Chicken" Gunnells, Darryl Hassan Jamison
Producer - James Brown
Reissue Producer - Harry Weinger
Recorded March 8, 1971 at the Olympia Theatre, Paris, France.