James Brown – The Next Step

The Godfather's 2002 US release with three remixed "bonus" cuts

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Long gone are the days when a James Brown album would have funkateers quivering in anticipation. But considering Brown’s recent legal and personal woes, his third collaboration in a row with producer/writer Derrick Monk is an impressively taut mission statement. Monk skilfully retraces JB’s illustrious past (eg. the “King Heroin” riff on “Send Her Back”) without labouring the point. Whether duetting feistily with Tomi Rae or laying down the law on the excellent “Killing Is Out, School Is In”, James is in unrepentant voice. A much better showing from a 70-year-old than we could reasonably expect.

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