Thursday, March 10, 2011
In the Jungle Groove
James Brown - In the Jungle Groove
Like most people, my knowledge of James Brown didn't go much further than his biggest hits: Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, I Got You (I Feel Good) or It's a Man's Man's Man's World; K-Earth 101 material. Those don't even scratch the surface. James Brown didn't earn "The King of Soul" reference because of three radio hits. If you really explore his entire career - if you haven't, you should - those songs are weak in comparison (really, they're wonderful songs). In particular, listen to his late 50s stuff.
Jungle Groove is the definition of funk. In fact, there is no definition of funk in the dictionary; I checked. This album plays when you look it up, like one of those cheesy Hallmark cards that play music. Only this is ten full, incredible, danceable songs from an artist who unabashedly did his thing, his way.
Really, I chose Jungle Groove to highlight one track in particular, "Funky Drummer." Consider the happiest moment in your life: graduation, birth of a child, marriage; that's what hearing Funky Drummer is like. It's smooth, cool and just the right amount of funk to tap your foot to. The real winners here are the musicians, though; James Brown merely directs traffic while occasionally grunting out a line or two.
As James Brown compilations go, you couldn't do better than Jungle Groove.