Friday, April 07, 2006

James Brown's (Not a Man's Man's Man's) World

James Brown:
World (Pt. 1) b/w (Pt. 2)

James Brown's immense catalogue of recordings for King and Polydor has almost been completely reissued as either straight album reissues or compilations over the years. Thanks to James Brown's Funky People, Vol. 3 we've been able to hear the alternate "rock" version of "Talking Loud and Saying Nothing," which was withdrawn almost immediately upon release and copies of which get frequent action on eBay, and on comps such as Motherlode unissued material has seen the light of day. Strangely, today's selection, an actual King single and a half in 1969 or 1970 (Part Two was the flip to the later single "I Cried," hence the "and a half" designation), gets very little attention. "World" is a plea for peace and harmony, and stands out from Brown's other singles from the period due to it's dramatic arrangement and more mainstream-sounding groove. It's an earnest performance from Brown and the single deserves more attention than it generally gets. There's footage in the autobiographical documentary Soul Survivor of a "music video" for the song, depicting James trying to plead his case to a group of stone-faced, angry-looking people, which really makes the song's point even stronger.

EDIT (4/10/06, 11:15 AM) - "World (Pt. 1)" was an R&B Top Ten hit in 1969, and "I Cried" b/w "World (Pt. 2)" came out in 1971.

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