February 20, 1971: James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Temptations, Spinners, Bill Moss & The Celestials

JAMES BROWN: Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved (Parts 1 & 2) (King).
With Bobby Byrd doing his “Get on up, get into it” thing, the latest hit from Mr Brown obviously harks back to “Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine’ in some ways. In fact, it is much less tightly organised and much jazzier, with some very nice brass and guitar: consequently, it also seems less strong as material. Do hear the superb “Sex Machine” album for the best of J.B. (Polydor 2625 004) – it’s great music for balling!

WILSON PICKETT: Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You (Atlantic).
More from Gamble-Huff Productions Inc, and while this finger-poppin’ beauty doesn’t have the Philly Sound it does have the mellow Philadelphia feel and exquisite guitar picking fill-ins. Better than “Engine No. 9”, everything about this is lovely, from the interplay of that guitar with the plopping conga beat, the solid bass and smooth organ, to the chix chanting and Wilson’s screaming. A very happy-making record.

THE TEMPTATIONS: Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) (Gordy).
Since the comparative failure of the boys’ fantastic (to my mind) “Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite The World)“, which has yet (if ever) to be released here, the guys at Gordy have obviously realised that the Tempts’ funkadelic run is over, for the time being. Now they’re back in their slow “I Wish It Would Rain” bag, with some very slinky strings doing moody bass runs and entwining the subdued harmonies in hypnotic disarming lushness. Incredibly restful and . . . brrrr! . . . imagination stimulating. Continue reading “February 20, 1971: James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Temptations, Spinners, Bill Moss & The Celestials”

February 6, 1971: Johnnie Taylor, Diana Ross, Buddy Miles, Four Seasons, Presidents

JOHNNIE TAYLOR: Jody Got Your Girl And Gone; A Fool Like Me (Stax).
Guess you could call Jody a playboy, ‘cos he don’t do nothin’ all day ‘cept spend money and ball . . . usually your old lady. Yup, now we know who’s makin’ love! Good Gawd, y’all – it’s great funk. Charlie (Roy Brown Fan Club Prexy) Gillett digs the slow flip, and so does Doctor Soul, although I disagree with Charlie about Johnnie’s lack of vocal character on earlier material: here I think he does sound colourless, whereas his bluesy mid-’60s slowies were full of powerful personality.

DIANA ROSS: Remember Me (Motown).
A nicely written song of sweet but sorrowful parting, in which one gets the impression that Diana has the upper hand – like, she’s splitting and the bloke is all cut up over it. Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson both penned and produced, and I think spoilt their song by making it a bit too strident as it progresses.

BUDDY MILES: We Got To Live Together (Mercury).
Yeah, it’s the chubby cherub (oh, how do I choose the wonderful stuff I use?!) on a rip-roaring funkadelic segment from his current album release. He must be pleased that now, ever since “Them Changes“, he’s getting R&B attention in America – he used to try so hard, but now he really is good. Continue reading “February 6, 1971: Johnnie Taylor, Diana Ross, Buddy Miles, Four Seasons, Presidents”