The comps just keep on coming. James Brown's passing in 2006 has -- as it would for virtually any artist of stature, let alone legend, in popular music -- spawned what seems to be a greater number of compilations being issued and reissued than occurred during his long career. This one, for instance, released in June of 2007, seems to have been in the works before Brown's death, as proved by a line in Cliff White
's booklet essay, ."..and still a part of Brown's stage show." Ultimately, it's the music that matters, and Universal has the lion's share of Brown's. Listeners have had a box set and numerous double-disc comps already, but this set seems to focus on the hits that charted. There are 40 tracks covering the years 1958, when "Please, Please, Please" was originally issued, to 1979, when "It's Too Funky in Here" hit the number 14 spot in the Billboard R&B charts. In between, all of them are here. Name it. There's even the great "Doing It to Death, Pt. 1" (better known as "Gonna Have a Funky Good Time") by Fred Wesley & the J.B.'s
(with Brown) from 1973, which celebrated the return of Wesley
and other bandmembers to Brown's group after leaving in 1970. This tune hit the number one spot on the R&B chart and stayed for a couple of weeks, and hit number 22 on the pop chart. Numerous two-part cuts have been issued in their entirety, such as "Cold Sweat," "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)," "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine," "Super Bad," and "The Payback." Others have their A-sides (part ones) included, such as "Licking Stick," "Mother Popcorn," "Ain't It Funky Now," "Get on the Good Foot," "Talking Loud and Saying Nothing," "Hot Pants," "Papa Don't Take No Mess," and "Bodyheat." In 24-bit remastered sound, this baby is worth snagging off the shelves unless you have these cuts twice or three times over elsewhere. But cuts like "King Heroin," "Funky President," "Out of Sight," and "I Got the Feelin'" are here as well. It's a nonstop head rush of Godfather soul and funk from top to bottom. If you've been waiting, this is the one to snag. If you're already invested, can you live without the remastered sound? That's the question Universal wants you to ask yourself and answer as a solid "no," so you'll plop down your cash just one more time.