Down Beat - 2/97, p.565 Stars (out of 5)
- "...It's a package sure to please specialists, and anyone else with ears on their head."
Musician - 7/96, p.94
"...the best bet for the money. It covers a period when Brown and his great bands wrought 'that new breed thang'--a steaming, hypnotic, groove-driven style that, not coincidentally, spawned the R&B maestro's biggest hits..."
FOUNDATIONS OF FUNK: A BRAND NEW BAG 1964-1969 features previously unreleased, unedited versions of singles released between 1964 and 1969. It comes with a 24-page booklet full of photos and a biographical essay.
Personnel includes: James Brown (vocals, organ); Maceo Parker (vocals, MC, tenor & baritone saxophones); St. Clair Pinckney (vocals, tenor & baritone saxophones); John "Jabo" Starks (vocals, drums); Levi Rasbury (MC, trumpet, valve trombone); Alphonso "Country" Kellum (guitar, bass); Jimmy Nolen, Eddie Setser (guitar); Alfred "Pee Wee" Eliis (alto & tenor saxophones, organ); Nat Jones (alto saxophone, organ); Eldee Williams, Al "Brisco" Clark, (tenor saxophone); Ron Tooley, Joe Dupars, Waymon Reed, Richard "Kush" Griffiths, Joseph Davis (trumpet); Fred Wesley (trombone); Tim Hedding (organ); Sam Thomas, David "Hooks" Williams, Bernard Odum, Tim Drummond, Charles Sherrell (bass); Melvin Parker, Clyde Stubblefield, "Beau Dollar" Bowman, Nate Jones (drums); Ron Selico (bongos); Art Lopez (congas); Bennie Parks (percussion); Bobby Byrd (background vocals).
Compilation producers: Harry Weinger, Alan Leeds.
Engineers: Ron Lenhoff, David Harrison, Mack Emmerman.
Recorded between February 1964 and November 20, 1969. Includes liner notes by Harry Weinger and Alan Leeds.
On Disc 1, tracks 1-6, 8-12 and 14-15 are mono, tracks 7 and 13 are stereo. On Disc 2, tracks 3-4 and 8 are mono, tracks 1-2, 5-7 and 9-12 are stereo.
Digitally remastered by Gary N. Mayo (Polygram Studios).
Personnel: James Brown (organ); St. Clair Pinckney (vocals, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, background vocals); Clyde Stubblefield (vocals, drums); Alphonso "Country" Kellum, Jimmy Nolen (guitar, background vocals); Wallace Richardson, Eddie Setser, Les Buie (guitar); Pee Wee Ellis (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, organ, background vocals); Nat Jones (alto saxophone, drums); Maceo Parker (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, background vocals); Eldee Williams (tenor saxophone, background vocals); Al "Brisco" Clark (tenor saxophone); Charles Carr, Haywood Henry (baritone saxophone); Waymon Reed (trumpet, background vocals); Joe Dupars, McKinley Johnson, Joseph Davis , Teddy Washington, Richard "Kush" Griffith, Ron Tooley (trumpet); Fred Wesley (trombone, background vocals); Dicky Harris (trombone); Levi Rasbury (valve trombone, background vocals); Alvin "Fats" Gonder, Timothy Hedding, Bobby Byrd (organ); Melvin Parker (drums, background vocals); John Starks, Beau Dollar Bowman (drums); Art Lopez (congas, background vocals); Sweet Charles Sherrell (background vocals).
Liner Note Authors: Harry Weinger; Alan Leeds.
Recording information: Arthur Smith Studios, Charlotte, NC (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); BellAuditorium, Agusta, GA (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); Criteria Studios, Miami, FL (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); Dallas Auditorium, Dallas, TX (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); King Studios, Cincinnati, OH (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); LeFevre Sound Corp., Atlanta, GA (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); Master Sound Studios, Atlanta, GA (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); New York, NY (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); RCA Studios, Los Angeles, CA (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); Talent Masters Studios, New York, NY (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); The Apollo, New York, NY (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); The Latin Casino, Cherry Hill, NJ (05/??/1964-11/20/1969); Vox Studios, Cincinnati, OH (05/??/1964-11/20/1969).
Photographer: Charles Stewart .
Unknown Contributor Roles: Clyde Stubblefield; Bernard Odum; Alvin "Fats" Gonder; Gary N. Mayo; Panama Francis.
Has there ever been a more aptly-titled collection than James Brown's FOUNDATIONS OF FUNK? Probably not. Before 1964, when the first of these innovative, vamp-driven R&B excursions was dropped upon the world, the blueprint for what came to be known as Funk wasn't even drawn up. FOUNDATIONS is that blueprint, constructed by a band-leader driven by an improvisational vocal grunt (as in "Huh! Give it to me!"), an edict that the groove is far more important than the melody, and a band that could become an unstoppable rhythm machine at the drop of a hat. Compiling 27 tracks, most of which haven't seen the light of day in such seemless, extended form and lovingly remastered sound (guarantee: the snap in Clyde Stubblefield's snare will jump out atcha), this, as they say, is the muthaload.
Highlights can be found in every corner. The live medley of "Out Of Sight" and "Bring It Up" shows that not only funkateers, but the new generation of acid-jazz fiends owe their all to Brown. Not so much a song as a vamp over which Brown commands his troops to new heights of booty-shakin' madness, "Bring It Up" illustrates many of the group's strengths. With full-band breaks, a rhythm section that seems bent on tearing the roof off, and a closing groove on which the horn section drives the point home while quoting Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Turn On Your Lovelight," it is a remarkable snapshot of one artist rewriting the rule book and sending an audience towards delirium. It exemplifies what FOUNDATIONS OF FUNK is all about.