James Brown: David Redfern / Redferns / Retna Ltd.
Larry Blumenfeld
July 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Soul on Top

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
James Brown
Producers
Verve

We gave it an A-

This 1969 recording of Soul on Top — James Brown fronting drummer Louis Bellson’s big band — is no novelty. It’s a signpost at the crossroads of jazz and soul. Brown croons ”That’s My Desire” with grace, and his signature screams sound like added horns on a boogaloo version of Hank Williams’ ”Your Cheatin’ Heart.” Five extended tracks, especially ”Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” make this especially thrilling.

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