James Brown and a taste of Soul comes to Rome, via this studio session for RAI-TV, recorded on April 24, 1971.
If you can get past the canned applause, which makes it sound like he’s playing to a crowd of one or two million, it’s an energetic and high-velocity set (a little over 15 minutes) that is classic James Brown.
Needless to say, he was loved all over Europe – which makes the presence of canned applause a little silly – he had enough fans in Italy to tear the house down. His concerts at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland are standout shows and feature some of the best performances from this legend of Soul.
But even at 15 minutes, any James Brown performance is eagerly anticipated, especially when it’s preserved, as this one is. The lineup of songs is pretty standard – starting off with Give It Up Or Turn It Loose and then going into Sex Machine, It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World, Soul Power, Get Up Get Into It Get Involved and closing out the set with Sunny. Featured in the set are Bootsy and Phelps Collins, who will head into their own direction later on in the 70s.
Going at break neck speed and with an almost solid bed of applause underneath, it ain’t mellow – but it IS Saturday night, so it might add a little turbo-charge to the evening.
In any event, it’s classic James Brown on Italian TV and Radio and it just seemed like a good idea to run this one tonight, since it’s a holiday weekend anyway, and any excuse to keep the party going is a good excuse. True?
Turn it up, dig in and enjoy.