Essential funk in a single set – three killer albums from James Brown
's legendary backing group! First up is Food For Thought – the classic first album by The JBs – James Brown
's Fred Wesley-led backing band, and the force behind most of his greatest records of the early 70s! The band are incredible at this point – sharper, harder, and funkier than just about any other combo around – and that includes all the thousands of groups in the funky 45 underground who were always trying to copy their sound, but never got things this right! Not only are the rhythms the stuff of legend – but the use of the instruments is far far above the norm – as can be heard on the mindblowing "The Grunt", which was sampled heavily by Public Enemy to great fame – and which features a saxophone solo that sounds more like a whistling tea kettle! The set collects some of the group's best early singles, and includes all of the short little funky cuts that made them a legend right out of the box – "Pass the Peas", "The Grunt", "These Are The JBs", "Hot Pants Road", "Wine Spot", "To My Brother", "Blessed Blackness", "Theme From King Heroin", "Escapism (parts 1 & 2), and "Gimme Some More" – all together here in one tight little album of massive funky hard beats and breaks! Doing It To Death is an incredible album – a landmark piece of funk that nobody should be without, funk fan or not! The album is the second to feature James Brown
's famous backing combo of the early 70s – and unlike their first one, which was really more of a collection of singles, this album has the group playing hard, long, and loud, in the free funk improvisational mode that was James
' real contribution to the music at the time. The tracks are all incredibly long, with James
at the forefront, egging the band on with shouts and comments – but also letting them open up large instrumentally, playing in a mode that's as much jazz as it is funky soul. The whole thing's peppered with some nice shorter segues between tracks – but the long cuts are the winners, and are some of the best funk ever recorded! Titles include "Mo Peas", "Doing It To Death", "La Di Da La Di Day", "You Can Have Watergate, Just Gimme Some Bucks & I'll Be Straight", and "Sucker". Last up is Damn Right I Am Somebody – quite possibly our favorite record by the JBs, ever! The set starts with a wonderful conversational bit – rapping and musing on the idea of "Damn Right, I Am Somebody" – showing the group in a political and righteous mode for the first time ever. The grooves then kick in – with the same heavy funk as on earlier records, but also a nice nod towards experimental production – from strange fade ups and fade downs, to stark time and rhythm changes, and even bits of electronics used to create some very cool moments in the grooves! The whole thing's as dead funky as can be, and is stuffed with insane classics like "Blow Your Head", "Same Beat", "Damn Right I am Somebody", "I'm Payin' Taxes, What am I Buyin'", and a great cover of Marvin Gaye's "You Sure Love to Ball"!