Sunday, July 11, 2010


I've talked about the importance of a "groove". Here its interesting to see the craft in the hands of the guy who invented it: James Brown. By the time this record was cut in the early seventies, Brown had narrowed down his tracks, almost against the pop standard, to a long and simple one chord groove. Out of this era and with a new band of prodigies, including "Bootsy" Collins of later P-Funk fame, emerged the well-known "Sex Machine" as well as this track. Why such minimalism? Something in me wants to say it was one part lazyness and one part bragadaccio, as if Brown knew he didn't need to work very hard to be great. This is certainly apparent at the breakdown (5:24), where he is clearly and daringly improvising in the middle of the take. But I think its really that Brown knew what this track shows, that a good groove in the hands of a talented and tight group is best left unpampered.

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