James Brown: Soul On Top CD Track Listing

A list by checkmate

James Brown Soul On Top (1970)
Originaly Released April 1970\nCD Edition Released July 13, 2004\n\nAMG EXPERT REVIEW: If Count Basie had hired James Brown to replace Joe Williams as his featured male vocalist, what would the results have sounded like? Brown offers some suggestions on Soul on Top, which finds the Godfather of Soul making an intriguing detour into jazz-minded big-band territory. Recorded in 1969 and reissued on CD in 2004, Soul on Top unites Brown with the Basie-influenced orchestra of jazz drummer Louie Bellson -- and stylistically, the results are somewhere between soul-funk and the funkier side of big-band jazz. This Brown/Bellson collaboration isn't straight-ahead jazz; nor is it typical of Brown's late-'60s output. But if recording a big-band project with Bellson was a surprising and unexpected thing for the Godfather of Soul to do in 1969, it was hardly illogical or bizarre -- Brown, after all, grew up listening to jazz (as well as blues and gospel) and was well aware of the legacies of Basie, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, and others. Besides, jazz and R&B are closely related. While some jazz snobs would have listeners believe that jazz and R&B have little if anything in common, the fact is that they're close relatives that get much of their energy and feeling from the blues. So it makes perfect sense for Brown to combine soul, funk, and jazz on this album, which finds him revisiting some major hits (including "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "It's a Man's Man's Man's World") in addition to embracing "September Song," "That's My Desire," and other standards that one typically associates with jazz and traditional pop. Although not among the Godfather's better-known efforts, this fine album is happily recommended to anyone who holds R&B and jazz in equally high regard. -- Alex Henderson\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nJazz Snobbery?, December 15, 2004\nReviewer: Take it to the Bridge "Sam"\nI don't get the other reviewers here. Is this album somehow superior becase it's ostensibly a jazz album rather than funk or R & B? Don't get me wrong, I'm a big jazz fan, but does the presence of a BIG BAND make James more acceptable as a "real musician?" Indeed, does a big band or having primarily jazz musicians make something "jazz?" I don't think so. This is a synthesis that doesn't always work, where JB sounds great DESPITE the weighty band backing him. At other times, there's a restraint that befits a big band setting, but doesn't show off "The Pride of Atlanta's supreme talent. \n\nI like the album for the variety, and because I simply love James Brown. He could take "Happy Birthday" out of the banal and into the funkified. But please, let's watch how we label this music. By the way, this is NOT the first time that JB released "There was a Time." Check out Disk 1 (Volume 1) of JB's "The Foundations of Funk," it's right there. Other recommendations: "Love, Peace, and Power," his increible live recording that rivals his great "Apollo" work.\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nLong overdue!, August 23, 2004\nReviewer: B. J. Lane "jazzbo" (Levittown, PA United States)\nJames Brown with a big, BIG band...OUCH!!! \n\nWe all know what a gifted performer the Godfather of Soul has been through the years. So, by listening to this CD (recorded in 1969 and long out of print), I've come to realize that Mr. Soul has a lot of jazz sensibilities in him. \n\nBacked by the screaming Louis Bellson big band, James tears his way through a collection of standards, jazzed-up covers of his own hits, and two original tunes, "The Man in the Glass" (forgot the composer), and "I Need Your Key to Turn Me On," for which Mr. Drums (Bellson) wrote the words, music, and Brown's right-on monologue. \n\n"September Song" is best performed the way Kurt Weill wrote it (as a plaintive ballad), but Brown tears this classic apart as only he can. Ditto "Your Cheatin' Heart." Brown's hits "It's a Man's, Man's World," "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "There Was a Time" (not part of the original LP - shame) get added horsepower from Bellson and company. \n\nAll in all, this project was a welcome surprise to these ears, thanks to the contributions of Mr. Soul, Mr. Drums, and the rock-solid big band charts of the sorely missed Oliver Nelson.\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nLabor of Love an overall success, July 16, 2004\nReviewer: p. silverman (USA)\nOfcourse the historians and deep fans know that James Brown has blended both light and heavy jazz into many of his compositions. Surely, it was the *jazz*-based solo by Maceo Parker on "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" that really sold it. And Maceo was also on the scene four years later for this well-produced set with the Louis Bellson Orchestra.\nJames Brown's vocals on this set are unusually creative, although sometimes excessive. Strangely, the opening (three) numbers leave the listener unsatisfied - as if the songs are arranged in the wrong key, or the artist simply can't find his pitch. But by track five and "It's A Man's...World", then to the "lost" JB masterpiece (also found on another King album) "The Man In The Glass", that awkwardness is gone. "September Song" is an excellent jazz-funk; the wonderful, melancholy lyrics do not suffer in this approach, as a genius weaves both genres together.\nLouis Bellson's nice downbeat "I Need Your Key (to Turn Me On)" has a terrific monologue from Brown - this is a winner.\nThe aforementioned "bag" is reprised with almost completely different instrumentation but it works - thanks in great part to Maceo Parker who returns not to play an extended solo but to engage in a kind of "call and response" with JB. This high-powered segment (released here for the first time) must have caught the engineer off guard because the mix isn't quite right, but more importantly, the listener is suddenly transported out of the studio and onto the stage of the Apollo.\n[By the way, historians, do I correctly recall this track supporting James Brown on a Dick Clark Special in '73?].\n\nHalf.com Details \nContributing artists: Louie Bellson, Oliver Nelson \nProducer: James Brown \n\nAlbum Notes\nPersonnel: James Brown (vocals); Bill Pitman, Louis Shelton (guitar); Ernie Watts, Joe Romano (alto saxophone); Maceo Parker, Pete Christlieb, Buddy Collette (tenor saxophone); Jim Mulidore (baritone saxophone); Al Aarons, John Audino, Chuck Finley, Tom Porello (trumpet); Jimmy Cleveland, Nick DiMaio, Kenny Shroyer, Bill Tole (trombone); Frank Vincent (piano); Ray Brown (bass guitar); Louie Bellson (drums); Jack Arnold (percussion); Louie Bellson Orchestra.\n\nLiner Note Authors: Francis Davis; Leonard Feather.\nRecording information: United Recorders, Hollywood, California (11/10/1969 - 11/11/1969).\nArranger: Oliver Nelson.\n\nSOUL ON TOP is one of the more unusual entries in the James Brown catalog. On this 1969 album, the Godfather of Soul is backed by jazz drummer Louie Bellson's big band, with arrangements by famed jazz orchestrator Oliver Nelson, for a program including numerous jazz standards, a country tune, and jazzy reworkings of classic Brown songs. Brown was a jazz fan and admirer of Bellson, and finally approached him to do an album, at which point Bellson suggested bringing Nelson aboard as arranger.\nThe results ostensibly take Brown out of his comfort zone. However, he sounds no less assured on a jazz boogaloo version of Hank Williams's "Your Cheatin' Heart" and a funked-up, horn-heavy take on Kurt Weill's "September Song" than he does on reinterpretations of his own "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Brown brought longtime saxman Maceo Parker along for company, so there's a bit of JB's flavor here, but for the most part it's a strange-but-happy marriage of Brown's gritty R&B voice, Bellson's hard-charging big band, and Nelson's harmonically rich horn arrangements. If you never thought you'd hear a soulful version of the Anthony Newley tune "What Kind of Fool Am I?," SOUL ON TOP will change your mind.\n\nIndustry Reviews\n4 stars out of 5 - [A] truly coruscating marriage of dynamic big band jazz and searing funk power....Brown is in irresistible form....SOUL ON TOP is undoubtedly a lost masterpiece.
This jazz cd contains 12 tracks and runs 51min 57sec.
Freedb: 980c2b0c


: Music



Music category icon, top 100 and cd listings
  1. James Brown - That's My Desire (04:10)
  2. James Brown - Your Cheatin' Heart (02:59)
  3. James Brown - What Kind Of Fool Am I? (03:06)
  4. James Brown - It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World (06:40)
  5. James Brown - The Man In The Glass (05:56)
  6. James Brown - It's Magic (03:14)
  7. James Brown - September Song (05:02)
  8. James Brown - For Once In My Life (04:43)
  9. James Brown - Every Day I Have The Blues (04:28)
  10. James Brown - I Need Your Key (To Turn Me On) (03:46)
  11. James Brown - Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (04:41)
  12. James Brown - There Was A Time (03:04)

listicles end ruler, top 40, top 100, top 5, top ten
Bookmark this list: Press CTRL + D or click the star icon.