THE JAMES BROWN REVUE
For the ten years leading up to 1972, the James Brown Revue was an outright superfunk freight train, speeding around the world and crushing all competition. This dominance stretched beyond the charts, too – the group was even more dynamic and exciting on stage, a fact that kept them sleepless and on the move, as audiences demanded more.
From 1963 to 1971, James Brown had released not one but three albums recorded live at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater. The first volume of the series is still rightfully revered today as one of the greatest live albums of all time. But Volumes II (1968) and III (1971 – aka Revolution Of The Mind) were no slackers either, showing James and his incredible band (with talent including “Pee Wee” Ellis, Fred Wesley, John “Jabo” Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, Maceo Parker, Lyn Collins, Bobby Byrd and many more) at the peak of their respective powers each time, playing a litany of JB hits. Because of this, it will always be a mystery as to why Volume IV, which was recorded at the Apollo on September 14, 1972, was shelved. This is in no small part because the performers and songs heard here are some of the Godfather of Soul’s (and the JBs’) strongest. But shelved it was, full of fire but languishing for decades in the Polydor vaults.