These Are The J.B.’s
A special (ltd) vinyl-only release, here’s a shelved album (originally planned for a 1971 release) by James Brown’s backing band, The J.B.’s. The Godfather himself contributes organ to a couple of the tracks, but these are sinewy groove-workouts, four instrumental cuts, two elongated standouts each going over 10 minutes.
A young, fresh Bootsy Collins drives the opening title track, but it’s the guitar work of his older brother, “Catfish” Collins, that dominates on I’ll Ze.
The most together piece here is The Grunt Pt. 1 & Pt.2, ironically the shortest offering – clocking in at just over three minutes. The horn playing here (Robert McCullough, Clayton Gunnels, Darryl Jamison) is dynamite. In fact their fine flurry carries on over to the closing When You Feel It Grunt If You Can, a lively jam that eventually disappears down into Clyde Stubblefield’s signature “Funky Drummer” framework as the record fades.
It’s a taut, often quite electrifying 31-minutes of fresh-sounding funk soul here. You could set your watch to this. Excited bedsit producers are probably planning new (old) breakbeats and brave MCs could probably test their a capellas over parts of this too.
The Collins brothers and McCullough are certainly the feature players, no doubt.
We’re lucky that such treats arrive – timed for Record Store Day and its Black Friday add-on (in this case) and the like. Funny, too, that what might once have been buried – under the weight of James Brown’s own work, and worth, now gets a chance – some 40 odd years on, to really shine.