Friday, September 20, 2013

79. Star Time (1991) James Brown

Disc 1 "Mr. Dynamite"

  1. Please Please Please
  2. Why Do You Do Me
  3. Try Me
  4. Tell Me What I Did Wrong
  5. Bewildered
  6. Good Good Lovin'
  7. I'll Go Crazy
  8. I Know It's True
  9. (Do the) Mashed Potatoes, Pt. 1
  10. Think
  11. Baby, You're Right
  12. Lost Someone
  13. Night Train
  14. I've Got Money
  15. I Don't Mind
  16. Prisoner of Love
  17. Devil's Den
  18. Out of the Blue
  19. Out of Sight
  20. Grits
  21. Maybe the Last Time
  22. It's a Man's World
  23. I Got You
  24. Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, Pts. 1, 2 & 3

Disc 2 "The Hardest Working Man In Show Business"

  1. Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1
  2. I Got You (I Feel Good)
  3. Ain't That a Groove
  4. It's a Man's Man's Man's World
  5. Money Won't Change You
  6. Don't Be a Dropout
  7. Bring It Up (Hipster's Avenue)
  8. Let Yourself Go
  9. Cold Sweat
  10. Get It Together
  11. Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me), Pt. 1
  12. I Got the Feelin'
  13. Licking Stick-Licking Stick
  14. Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud, Pt. 1
  15. There Was a Time
  16. Give It Up or Turnit a Loose
  17. I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing (Open up the Door I'll Get It Myself)

Disc 3 "Soul Brother No. 1"

  1. Mother Popcorn
  2. Funky Drummer
  3. Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine
  4. Super Bad, Pts. 1 & 2
  5. Talkin' Loud & Sayin' Nothing
  6. Get Up, Get into It and Get Involved
  7. Soul Power, Pts. 1 & 2
  8. Brother Rapp/Ain't It Funky Now
  9. Hot Pants, Pt. 1
  10. I'm a Greedy Man, Pt. 1
  11. Make It Funky, Pt. 1
  12. It's a New Day
  13. I Got Ants in My Pants, Pt. 1
  14. King Heroin

Disc 4 "The Godfather Of Soul"

  1. There It Is, Pt. 1
  2. Public Enemy #1, Pt. 1
  3. Get on the Good Foot
  4. I Got a Bag of My Own
  5. Doing It to Death
  6. The Payback
  7. Papa Don't Take No Mess, Pt. 1
  8. Stoned to the Bone, Pt. 1
  9. My Thang
  10. Funky President (People It's Bad)
  11. Hot (I Need To Be Loved, Loved, Loved, Loved)
  12. Get Up Offa That Thing (Release the Pressure)
  13. Body Heat, Pt. 1
  14. It's Too Funky in Here
  15. Rapp Payback (Where Iz Moses)
  16. Unity, Pt. 1

Some artists deserve a single disc best-of compilation, some are worthy of double album greatest hits packages. A select few are deserving of three disc monsters. Some are even worthy of great big whopping box sets with four discs spanning their career and containing all their hits along with obscure cuts and less accessible stuff.

James Brown is in the latter camp. He's a guy who deserves a full box with extensive liner notes and comprehensive remastering. He has a career that is worth someone dedicating years of their life in a dark room with an expensive piece of machinery and the master tapes doing whatever it is a sound engineer does to make sure an old record sounds as good as possible.

The question is: do most of you need to hear it? Does your interest in James Brown warrant spending five hours listening to seventy-one tracks of Brown? For most of you I'm guessing the answer is no.

James Brown had some great hits and is justifiably held up as a hero of Funk and Soul and the godfather of modern music. He's the legend who gave us I Feel Good which is one of the most universally loved tracks in the last fifty years of music. Pretty much everyone loves I Feel Good and it's one of those songs that never wears out its welcome no matter how many times you hear it. But that's not say that Brown is a one trick pony. He's a many trick war horse whose career deserves more attention. If you can only name a handful of Brown hits then you need to hear more of his work. But I'm not sure you need to hear quite this much.

71 songs on four discs is a lot of Brown which makes this compilation only for the dedicated listener. There are numerous best-of compilations out there which do a good job of documenting his career in as much detail as most listeners need,  this one for example and will probably do everyone but the die-hard James Brown fan.

Star Time is here partly because James Brown is great but also partly because it's one of the great original boxed sets. Before every single artist on the planet was deemed worthy of a box of some kind it was a special honour reserved for only the truly great and legendary. Star Time was not just a box of songs it was a lovingly crafted compilation remastered with care and accompanied by extensive notes and photographs. It was a celebration of a career and for James Brown fans it was something to be treasured and returned to.

I never owned Star Time but I can appreciate the joy of a box. It's a rare and wonderful thing. The Led Zeppelin boxed set was one of my early CD purchases and I played it constantly and re-read the accompany book over and over again. I've since bought boxes by the Grateful Dead, TISM, Neil Young, The Beatles, The Velvet Underground and others and always treasured them as a special kind of purchase. Star Time helped make record labels realise that there was a market for lovingly produced boxed tributes for fans to treasure.

None of which is enough reason to purchase this if you're not a James Brown fan. If you want to hear more of the great man then grab a smaller best of. If it moves you in ways that other music doesn't them maybe you need 71 tracks in which case Star Time will definitely make you feel good.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "James Brown has always been my favorite, but I was never able to find much of his music in the CD era before the internet exploded."

-Wait the Internet exploded? Why did nobody tell me? You'd think I would have read about that on the net.

So is this 4 discs too much or not enough Brown for your buck? Let me know below.

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