City Paper is not for tourists
After James Brown canned his disgruntled band just before a show on March 9, 1970, he had his mainman Bobby Byrd dig up a group of teenagers who knew Brown’s licks and Lear-jet their scrawny asses down to Georgia in time for the gig. The band included future Funkadelicist Bootsy Collins, who, inspired by Sly and the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham, stretched the J.B.’s into a rubber band. Collins’ elastic grooves fought against the rigid beats of John “Jabo” Starks and became the new foil to Brown’s vocal flailings. For only a little more than a year the band toured rigorously, recording a few singles and one live album, but its influence on ’70s music is undeniable, present in everything from Can’s metronomic head trips to the gamut of R&B butt slips. The track-listing alone is going to make you want to jump back and kiss yourself, including “Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine,” “Super Bad,” and “Soul Power.” Also, there’s the ironic “Fight Against Drug Abuse”—it was a public-service promo the Godfather must have forgotten during his hophead years. As a companion piece to Foundations of Funk: A Brand New Bag: 1964-1969, Funk Power completes the case study of Brown’s most innovative period. The grooves on this album act as sluices for your sweat glands: You’re gonna be a puddle by the time it ends.