Friday, 25 January, 2008

Fred Wesley & the J.B.'s Band - Doing it to Death (1973)

"In spite of James Brown's 1974 hit "The Payback" and his future canonization in rap, 1973's Doing It to Death was, as the title now suggests, the sound of James Brown obsessing the almighty funk into commercial irrelevance. His tight circle of musicians was still creating a brand of R&B as distinct as it was influential. (You can hear it in the music of artists as disparate as Nigeria's Fela and Germany's Can.) But on his home turf, James was already competing with post-Superfly wah-wah pedal hoppers and the pre-disco Philly sound. So it's not surprising that he soaked up loose change from his pre-sold followers with cut-'n-press JB's albums like this one on his indie label, People.

Though composed by bandleader Fred Wesley and a bigger hit than any single released by James under his own name that year, the talky 10-minute title cut is still pure Godfather. And the unexpectedly solid album constructed around it is every bit a classically Jamesian combination of loose lip and tight ship. The boss man's mug is missing from the sleeve, but if there's any doubt who's in charge, just listen to the way he introduces the bass solo on "More Peas," relinquishing the groove only after giving the band notice that "if he lose the funk we gotta chunk him out."

The theme song, "You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks and I'll Be Straight," is ironic given James' re-election endorsement of the vulnerable funky president. JB had hoped to pressure Nixon for a Martin Luther King holiday ("You can't change a house from the outside," he'd told hecklers at the Apollo). By '73, he just wanted his 40 acres. Instead, he got a call from the IRS and belated thanks "for inventing modern music" some 23 years later". Peter S. Scholtes

"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 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 seques between tracks -- but the long cuts are the winners, and are some of the best funk ever recorded" Dusty Groove America

1 - Introduction to the J.B.'s (0:23)
2 - Doing it to Death - Parts 1 & 2 (9:49)
3 - You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks and I'll Be Straight (0:14)
4 - More Peas (8:16)
5 - La Di Da La Di Day (5:32)
6 - You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks and I'll Be Straight (0:14)
7 - Sucker (8:00)
8 - You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks and I'll Be Straight (6:22)

James Brown - lead vocal
Fred Wesley - trombone
Darryl "Hasaan" Jamison - trumpet
Jerone "Jasaan" Sanford - trumpet
Ike Oakley - trumpet
St. Clair Pinckney - tenor saxophone
Eldee Williams - tenor saxophone
John "Jabo" Starks - drums
Jimmy Nolen - guitar
Hearlon "Cheese" Martin - guitar
Fred Thomas - bass
Maceo Parker - alto saxophone

back again


feirante said...

o album e legau, mas andar a ripar vinila as tres pancadas, e ainda por cima vinil riscado,
... e mesmo a florentino...

rei do gado said...

pois claro. de ti já estava à espera desses comentários... três pancadas é o teu nome do meio, ó paspalho

Fiscal da Alfândega said...

Quando um Feirante e um Rei do Gado se encontram só pode sair peixeirada. Comportem-se, senhores!

vidrão said...

Sucker (8:01)

Anonymous said...

hi mr. juju, its me again & i am still trying to get deslie dalabas core samples you posted earlier last year... you said you could possibly repost it as rs... is this still possible... sendspace doesnt work with me, dont know why... best wishes

bravo juju said...

It just vanished from my mind. Sorry about that.
Will provide a fresh rs link for Dalaba in a couple of days.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the JB's. Love that sound and miss that band. I feel blessed to have danced the night away under the stage at an outdoor concert in 1972 (I think). 'Get On The Good Foot' was a big hit at the time and the audience moved those picnic tables close up under the stage to enjoy James. It was great to be dancing underneath JB as he encouraged us to do that "long haired hippies & the Afro-Blacks all get together" dance. Thanks for 'Doing It To Death' (and at 320 kbps no less). Obrigado! John - Atlanta, Ga, USA

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