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A cluster bomb of Funk!
H. Brumfield | St. Louis, MO | 01/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You have to be deaf or from Mars to not instantly recognize Bobby Byrd's deep, resonant voice from James Brown's "Sex Machine"-- he's the guy in the call-and-response routine with James, singing "Get on up!" And thank Providence that the Godfather of Soul allowed the little people a chance to strut their stuff, 'cause this album is packed with gems. Bobby Byrd shines on the all-time classic cut "I Know You Got Soul", the song that later revived interest in all things J.B. when Eric B. & Rakim sampled it in the mid-80's. In fact, most of the songs on this album have been put to use in classic hip-hop records, for instance Bobby Byrd's other track, "Hot Pants... I'm Coming, I'm Coming, I'm Coming", perhaps the slamminest on this collection, was manipulated to great effect by Marley Marl for Big Daddy Kane's "Raw". My only disappointment, as far as Bobby Byrd is concerned, is that his amazing tune "Keep On Doin' (What You're Doin' Baby)" is overlooked here.
But no bother, 'cause there's much to make up for it. "Soul Power '74" by Maceo & The Macks is a showcase for the tightest horn section in history, over an instrumental version of "Soul Power". Not only is this particular record sampled more than hors douvres in a supermarket aisle, it contains samples itself in the form of tape overlays of civil rights rallies, a Dr. King speech, and an announcement of King's assassination. This track and several others are also available on the JB's Anthology, but don't let that scare you away...
...Because...[he] has a stable of female vocalists available only in this Funky People series. And man are they the rawest, most soulful singers you'll find. Marva Whitney, of "It's My Thing" fame, appears here with one of the most high-powered cuts on the album. "What Do I Have to Do to Prove My Love to You" is a hi-ball freight train of horns that is a gas to dance to, and ends before you've had time to make sense of it all. Lynn Collins (the Female Preacher), the featured diva on Funky People Pt. 1, turns in a seriously fried-chicken greasy live version of Isaac Hayes' "Do Your Thing". And Myra Barnes' oft-sampled "The Message From the Soul Sisters", with its prominent piano groove, and "Super Good", a vamp on Wilson Pickett's incredible "Engine #9", are two scoops of pure flavor.
This collection closes out with one of my personal favorite jams by the JB's, "Blow Your Head". It doesn't get much better than this. James Brown plays the far-out Moog synthesizer in a virtual free-jazz style over the rhythm section and aggressive horns. Hip-hop fans may recognize this tune as the source for Public Enemy's very first song, the brilliantly grating "Public Enemy #1". All in all Funky People Pt. 2 is a must for soul and hip-hop collectors, as well as a thoroughly enjoyable time-warp for the average listener."
A Party pleaser
simon lester | Sydney, NSW Australia | 08/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want music to get your party groovin' and even the most sedate feet tapping then this is a must. Every track is a winner if you love simple basslines, funky rhytmns and soul full voices all backed by some of the best musicians ever.Its difficult to get hold of Fred Wesley and JB's tracks so when you see them on CD its worth a buy (Most of these tracks were only released on vinyl).This is the best James Brown album of all."
Hillari Hunter | Chicago, IL United States | 01/19/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The dj at the roller rink I go to keeps a few of the cuts here on heavy rotation. The funky groove on the classic "You Can Have Watergate, But Gimme Some Bucks And I'll Be Straight" can NOT be beat. Other good cuts include a jazzed up version of "Soul Power", and "From The Love Side", a song done by one of Brown's idols, Hank Ballard and The Midnighters. Another must have for James Brown fans."