Never-before-heard James Brown and J.B.’s originals and covers of Jimi Hendrix, Kool & the Gang, the Meters. Contains a 12-page booklet with full annotation, liner notes by Brown historian Alan Leeds and never-before-published photos.
This album is the Rosetta Stone of funk’s dominant idioms, yet its existence has barely been a rumor. In 1970 James Brown perfectly captured a definitive moment in modern music when he ordered Bootsy Collins into the studio to record the tracks that would be test pressed on King Records as These Are The J.B.’s. This album is the epitome of funk music, Brown’s innovation that influenced everything that came after it, from Afro-beat to disco to hip-hop. And if there is any funk ensemble as influential as Brown’s, in the post-“Cold Sweat” musical landscape, it’s the Parliament/Funkadelic contingent. Those two streams, as Grammy Winning James Brown historian Alan Leeds details in this album’s liner notes, converged for the first time here.
This link between Brown’s funk and all that followed features Bootsy and his young band running through twelve-minute instrumental take of Marva Whitney’s “It’s My Thing,” replete with blues chord changes, alongside interpretations of the Meters, Kool and the Gang and none other than Jimi Hendrix. This is a young band’s James Brown-turned-on-his-head style of funk that they nail in a one-minute vamp that pre-dates their obscure but important work as the Houseguests ensemble and embodies the essence of the psychedelic-flavored music that would propel them into the orbit of George Clinton and his mothership, where they poked cosmic holes in funk’s polyrhythmic ozone layer in the mid-1970s.
There are only two extant copies of the original King Records test press LP of These Are The J.B.’s. The first commercial issue of this album, was overseen by Now-Again’s Egon alongside Leeds and Universal Music Group’s James Brown expert Harry Weinger. It was mastered specifically for vinyl by Elysian Master’s Dave Cooley from the original two-track stereo master that James Brown and his engineer Ron Lenhoff delivered to production forty-four years ago. It comes with a multi-page booklet with liner notes by Leeds and Egon and many unpublished photographs and ephemera.