Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hey America - James Brown

To celebrate the month that brings us the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I decided to make December permanently Christmas month. That doesn't mean I'm going to do tons every year, but they have to be related to the holiday to be reviewed. This album, a pseudo-holiday record by James Brown, follows last years Santa Dog. This also happens to be studio record number 34, if math is correct, and was released during a period where some of his best material (IMO) was being recorded and released. This isn't a new record to me, i actually heard this thing last October. After being blown away by how, not a piece of complete shit it was, I knew I must review and spread it. Most Holiday albums are horse shit, no really they are. They are the same 12 or 15 songs and they are boring as shit. Seriously, I can't stand Christmas music. In fact the songs I like are Auld Lang SyneWhat Child is This and Oh Come Emmanuel. I might be forgetting some, but my point is very few songs I like. I mean I tolerate some tracks, but tolerate and enjoy are two different things. Maybe this'll become a new holiday classic, after my amazing review. Also January will be mostly reviews I did this month but put off because of the theme.
  1. Hello America: Opening the album we get this, a very funky and pretty intense song for a Christmas album. Like really, this is a solid song, in it's own right. That is a reoccurring theme on this album, songs that are genuinely good songs. Like I'd totally dig this if it was on another album, it's a solid track that's pretty tight. Nice string, that part when they crescendos makes this song so much tougher. The horns here are also pretty great, and that funky drummer.... damn what an opening. This is one of those, not you lame ass covers album feeling. I love how it just takes you there, it doesn't hid anything. This actually could be a blacksplotation theme, but the movie might have to take place at Christmas. And I don't think I need to comment on the Godfather of Funk. He's great as usual.
  2. A Lonely Little Boy Around One Little Christmas Toy:  That sure paints a picture. For me I imagine the boy comes from a poor family, why the could only afford one toy. Maybe he's an orphan and at the orphanage he only gets a small toy. Regardless of the story in the song, that title is a very powerful title. There is a really Christmas, jazz feeling to the organ here. The atmosphere really feels like a Christmas LP. Like I feel like if Brown wasn't singing, and the strings were out then Jimmy Smith might come in and start playing God Rest Yet Merry Men. I also feel like this song, if a little more intense would just fucking rip your heart out. While I like the kind of subdued feeling of this track, that track would be up there with Feed The Birds for most tear jerking songs but it is not quite there. I could totally see this being there though. This is another really solid track, though I wish it was more emotional. It's almost as if the album was recorded in one day, one long day, and this was the last song. That may not be true, but I kind of feel like this song should hit me harder.
  3. Go Power At Christmas Time: Finally, a good action sequence for us this Christmas. If you stripped this song of the extra instruments I could see this being an Aerosmith track. Maybe like a James Brown cover. This is a nice rocking track, thought I don't think the vibes/xylo/whatever-ophone isn't really necessary. The ending really reminds me of a better Blues Brothers.
  4. Christmas is Love: I thought Real is Love? That way Love Is Real? So Christmas must be Real, and Real must be is Christmas. The feeling of this song is one that you could talk over, or rap rather. I mean there is just something that I feel like I could tell a story over this rhythm. Maybe something along the lines of what he did on My Rapp. This song is really alive and it feels tight, thought the transition on the version I heard isn't that great. I mean the flow of the song was kind of chopped off. There is a very rushed feeling to the horns in this section. I feel like this song would be far better if it was written tighter, or with better resolution (?). The section changes are too abrupt, they don't just flow into each other. This is a good song outside of that, but for me personally it kind of puts the rest of the track out of wack. I do still like the song thought, just a little hard to "grasp", because of the in ability to really focus on the music. The reason is the one I said earlier.
  5. Santa Clause is Definitely Here to Stay: Opening side 2 we get the very heartwarming tale of Santa, becoming all our regular Saturday night things. There is something that really does melt my heart, even though the lyrics may not be the greatest. The music is so damn good, it's almost impossible to be cynical towards. There is no fabricated truths to what I said. This really does just get me on that gut feeling. This is the feeling I wanted to get from track 2.
  6. My Rapp: This is a pretty solid track, that really just consists of 6 minutes of just rambling, there is barley any singing. Just a few bursts here and there. But still, this is really a load more entertaining than say any Christmas record. The only complaint is, it goes a little long.
  7. I'm Your Christmas Friend, Don't Be Hungry: I don't really get this one. For the rest I can at least picture something or imagine the logic..... But this one. I can probably do a reviews length description of what I think this title could mean. I can only gather he's giving to the less fortunate, which helps them to eat. That's the only one that makes sense. This feels like a subdued version of Sex Machine or I Feel Good. I mean it's still exciting, I think the thing is he wasn't to see sincere. But I feel like he should be getting up and jumping around. Here he feels like he's barley moving. This 
  8. Merry Christmas My Baby and a Very, Very Happy New Year: This is the last track on James' third (if I counted right) Christmas record. This was also his last he released, and its a shame. But closing this we get one of the closer. This have a very vocal jazz feeling to the song. I close my eyes and see thing being played in a bar, with the subtraction of the strings. It's an appropriate ending to the album.
Overall I have to give this album a 7.7/10. All joking aside, check this out. This could be my favorite Christmas related music thing I've ever heard. This is fairly funky, and really easy to take. You don't have to like funk, or really even James Brown to like this. I think it's also kind of a novelty to it with Brown doing all original Christmas tunes. I know I'll play these JB Christmas records for my kids when they are growing up, as I will play them Yellow Submarine. Plus..... what's not to love about a soul-filled funky Christmas. You celebrates it your way, I celebrate it in my way. That's the beauty of the holidays, it's not one of those "My Way or the Highway" type deals. So Let's All Have A James Brown Christmas this year, by listening to this under-appreciated little record. 

No comments:

Post a Comment