The FAMOUS FLAMES....WHO WERE THEY ?,
willgee | ca | 09/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Brown and the Famous Flames are PURE DYNAMITE and this is their VERY FIRST FANTASTIC ALBUM...But I wonder ...just how many people reviewing this CD really KNOW just WHO The FAMOUS FLAMES really were? If you ,like so many other music writers and Rock historians think that the FLAMES were the name of JAMES BROWN'S BAND ...you are INCORRECT !!! Please go back and read or re- read James' autobiography...then go on the internet and obtain the movies SKI PARTY and the TAMI SHOW.Then read the liner notes on the LIVE AT THE APOLLO CD...and ALL of the POLYDOR CD re-issues of James and the Flames early albums... such as this "PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE" album,(if you can find it on cd },the "THINK" album and the TRY ME album...They all say the SAME THING..."THE FAMOUS FLAMES ARE NOT THE BACKUP BAND ...THEY ARE THE VOCAL GROUP" !!! ANYONE who says otherwise DOESNT KNOW THE HISTORY OF JAMES BROWN!! JAMES himself even explained this on the DAVID LETTERMAN SHOW...but many so- called rock music historians STILL DON'T GET THE MESSAGE !! THE FAMOUS FLAMES were: BOBBY BYRD-the group's founder, and the man who actually discovered James Brown,BOBBY BENNETT,and the late LLOYD STALLWORTH..who replaced departing original member JOHNNY TERRY...JAMES BROWNS BAND was called ...believe it or not... THE JAMES BROWN BAND !! This means that stellar players such as FRED WESLEY, MACEO PARKER,ALFRED "PEE WEE " ELLIS AND OTHERS were BAND MEMBERS...NOT FAMOUS FLAMES !!THE FAMOUS FLAMES AND THE BAND WERE TWO SEPARATE ENTITES !!the ROLLING STONE HISTORY OF ROCK AND ROLL was one of the few printed publications that actually GOT IT RIGHT! In showing a picture of the JB troupe on stage back in the sixties..it clearly stated that JAMES was..."with the Famous Flames AND the James Brown Band!!Why the confusion? Part of the reason centered around a very strange practice of KING RECORDS (JAMES'record label back then) of showing ONLY THE LEAD SINGER on many of their vocal groups' classic fifties and sixties albums.They did this- not only with JAMES BROWN AND THE FLAMES'albums...but with HANK BALLARD AND THE MIDNIGHTERS'albums as well. People only know what they see...And what they saw was only JAMES BROWN'S AND HANK BALLARD'S faces on the album covers...AND NOT THEIR RESPECTIVE GROUPS.Another problem is the unfortunate practice on the part of music writers over the last 15 years or so of calling the great r&b vocal groups "bands" because their rock- oriented counterparts were. (example..artists such as THE MIRACLES,THE TEMPTATIONS,AND THE FOUR TOPS ARE NOT "BANDS",BUT RATHER VOCAL GROUPS OR SINGING GROUPS...While artists such as THE BEATLES , THE ROLLING STONES,AND THE BEACH BOYS are bands..They actually play instruments on stage).These two factors have combined to cause a confusion toward THE FAMOUS FLAMES in the eyes of the music buying public that has persisted to this day... and has cost them a possible spot in the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME along with JAMES,which they so richly deserve.(ANYONE WHO HAS SEEN THE MOTION PICTURE "THE TAMI SHOW" will have to admit-JAMES BROWN AND THE FAMOUS FLAMES STOLE THE SHOW - BLOWING AWAY THE STONES , THE SUPREMES , AND EVERYONE ELSE}.the FLAMES also appeared with James in the Frankie Avalon movie "SKI PARTY" in a non- singing, non-speaking role,and on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW twice,dressed differently than the band, and unfortunately uncredited .In 1964,James stopped recording with the FLAMES in the studio,But they still continued to perform with him on stage for another 4-5 years...and their name still appeared on the records,so most people thought the name applied to the band.After the FLAMES disbanded , BOBBY BYRD remained with James, and that's his voice you hear echoing James on hits such as "SEX MACHINE","SOUL POWER", "MAKE IT FUNKY",AND "GET ON UP, GET INTO IT,GET INVOLVED" . So,the next time you listen to "live at the apollo", or early hits such as PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE , TRY ME,THINK, BEWILDERED,OH BABY DONT YOU WEEP,or other great songs... remember..the guys you hear SINGING ...NOT PLAYING INSTRUMENTS in the background...are indeed the mighty FAMOUS FLAMES..BOBBY BYRD, BOBBY BENNETT,JOHNNY TERRY, AND LLOYD STALLWORTH. read JAMES'AUTOBIOGRAPHY...IT'S ALL THERE..THE FAMOUS FLAMES ARE A SINGING GROUP.. NOT A BAND!!
Please, Please, Please
D. Blank | Folsom, CA USA | 12/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you enjoy the "early" James Brown at a time when he was still seeking a definitive style, buy this cd. Goes without saying that "Please" is one of his best if not the best but many other examples here of the versatility that he possessed before the wheels fell off and he found "His Brand New Bag" ..."