Monday, January 01, 2007

Tribute to the Godfather: New Year's Resolution!

James Brown - Kiss in '77

As I discussed in the "Nature" post from last week, James Brown made a major stab at disco in his later-'70s albums, with diminishing results. To write off that era as a debacle, however, does JB disservice, as his albums generally included interesting material. The 1976 LP Bodyheat scored James a Top 20 R&B hit with its disco-funk title track (which is still a very popular rollerskating record in Chicago), but today's selection is indicative of other approaches JB was taking on wax at the time. Brown, always a good balladeer, stuck some great ballads on his albums that featured great arrangements and masterful singing. "Kiss in '77" was a minor hit, I believe, and it finds a pensive JB trying to rekindle a romance gone cold ("In 1975 I tried to love you," he sighs) by changing his ways. It's a soulful New Year's resolution that really works. Incidentally, the falsetto singer that comes in later in the song is JB's bass player, "Sweet" Charles Sherrell, whose People LP For Sweet People From Sweet Charles includes great (but at the time unheralded) funk and soul cuts like a great remake of "Soul Man" and "Treat Me Like a Man."

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