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Elsewhere by Graham Reid

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Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

james brown

james brown on Elsewhere by Graham Reid - browse 44 items of content tagged as 'james brown'.

Sam Cooke: Portrait of a Legend 1951-64 (Abkco)

Sam Cooke: Portrait of a Legend 1951-64 (Abkco)

It seems a shame that this great soul singer -- who was shot in strange and sad circumstances in late '64 -- should be relegated to classic hits radio and soundtracks on the basis of a few of his hits: You Send Me, What A Wonderful World, Bring It On Home To Me, Another Saturday Night . . . Cooke's wonderful gospel-into-pop sound of 1959-65...

Bettye LaVette and Drive-By Truckers: The Scene of the Crime (Anti) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Bettye LaVette and Drive-By Truckers: The Scene of the Crime (Anti) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

This is an unexpected pairing: soul-singer LaVette with alt-country rockers Drive-By Truckers recording in Muscle Shoals in Alabama. A marriage made in heaven (or a somewhat hotter place) as it turns out: the band are edgy or supportive and nudge LaVette (who needs little prompting it must be said) through a collection of gritty songs which...

Cat Power: Jukebox (Matador)

Cat Power: Jukebox (Matador)

Covers albums can be uneven and most often uncalled for: usually they represent some stopgap measure for an artist, and at their worst seem pretty pointless, like Patti Smith's recent Twelve in which she covered songs which had influenced her but she brought nothing to them other than her stylistic signature. Or Bryan Ferry's recent...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Van Morrison: Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: Van Morrison: Keep It Simple (Lost Highway)

Another year and another Van album on yet another label . . . And with the reissue of his earlier albums drawing attention to great work like It's Too Late to Stop Now (read about it in Essential Elsewhere) it would hardly be surprising if this one was ignored by even longtime followers, many of whom might be picking up the remastered...

Marie "Queenie" Lyons: Soul Fever (Vampi/Southbound)

Marie "Queenie" Lyons: Soul Fever (Vampi/Southbound)

Queenie Lyons was one of the many soul singers from the late 60s/early 70s whose career was as short as it was impressive: one album, this one, and gone. The little that is known about her is this: she came out of Louisiana on the chitlin' circuit, sang with King Curtis' band, and opened for the likes of Jackie Wilson, Fats Domino and James...

Eddie Bo: In the Pocket With Eddie Bo (Vampi through Southbound)

Eddie Bo: In the Pocket With Eddie Bo (Vampi through Southbound)

The reissue label Vampi appeared on Elsewhere previously with the Mary "Queenie" Lyons and Quinteplus albums from the cusp of the 70s -- and this r'n'b soul-funk singer from New Orleans comes from the same kind of obscurity to those outside an inner circle. According to the extensive liner notes on this 28 track collection of Bo...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Eli Paperboy Reed and The True Loves: Roll With You (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Eli Paperboy Reed and The True Loves: Roll With You (Shock)

For the past week or so I have been listening to old vinyl by Dusty Springfield and Southside Johnny (a New Jersey bar-band chum of Springsteen and Stevie Van Zandt) and have been reminded again just how many white singers have been immersed in soul/r'n'b.And there seems to be a new wave again with James Hunter, Duffy and Beth Rowley, all of...

JAMES BROWN: THE ONE AND ONLY GODFATHER OF SOUL (1992): Star time . . . all the time

JAMES BROWN: THE ONE AND ONLY GODFATHER OF SOUL (1992): Star time . . . all the time

“The artistry of James Brown is epitomised by the guttural grunt (uh,uh) or the equally familiar cry of ‘oo-wee’ that punctuates practically ever young he has recorded. In those simple primal utterances Brown comes nearer his poetic goal than in any of his more elaborate lyrics. For there, he is not singing about black life...

ARETHA FRANKLIN, THE QUEEN OF SOUL: Oh, how the mighty have risen

ARETHA FRANKLIN, THE QUEEN OF SOUL: Oh, how the mighty have risen

When American critic Dave Marsh complied his The Heart of Rock and Soul in the early 90s -- a free-swinging personal recount of the “1001 greatest singles ever made” from doo-wop Moondogs (1955) to dance floor Madonna (1985) -- one name turned up repeatedly. For those who nostalgically put Abba up the charts again (and again)...

OTIS REDDING: The lost legacy of a soul genius

OTIS REDDING: The lost legacy of a soul genius

The life and death of Otis Redding is replete with ironies. The man who displaced Elvis in the British magazine Melody Maker as top male vocalist in ’67 – knocking off the King after an eight-year straight residency – could barely crack the top 10 in his homeland. Yet after his death in December that year – his...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

The last album by the great Mavis Staples, We'll Never Turn Back was picked as one of the best albums of 2007 at Elsewhere, and that was no sympathy vote for one of life's survivors who had grown up with the civil rights movement and has now lived long enough to see Obama heading for the White House. So when she sings "keep your...

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland (1968)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland (1968)

There's a very good case to be made that The Jimi Hendrix Experience album of 1967 was the most accomplished and innovative debut of the rock era. (Indeed I hope I made the case for Are You Experienced at Elsewhere with my free-ranging, autobiographical essay Jimi Hendrix: In My Life). This was an album which changed the boundaries of what...

Opensouls: Standing in the Rain (Dirty)

Opensouls: Standing in the Rain (Dirty)

To be honest, I wasn't expecting to like this quite as much as I do. Certainly some songs lack a soulful punch and you'd wish for more power in the vocals of Tyra at times. But these people write a good tune -- albeit it grounded in Motown classic riffs and shifts -- and the edgy guitars elevate it a little more than I had anticipated. It is...

Tahuna Breaks: Black Brown and White (Chocolate)

Tahuna Breaks: Black Brown and White (Chocolate)

I'd be astonished if Tahuna Breaks don't have hugely successful concerts on their current tour, and sell truckloads of this album -- because they tick every stylistic box that New Zealand audiences seem to like: you want James Brown-styled soul-funk (you've got it on Giddy Up which isn't the Katchafire song, and Funky Mama), or you want light...

PET ROCKS AND PUNK ROCK: Have A Nice Decade; The '70s Pop Culture Box considered

PET ROCKS AND PUNK ROCK: Have A Nice Decade; The '70s Pop Culture Box considered

It might have been famously "the decade that taste forgot", but the Seventies has spawned an interesting nostalgia for smiley faces (on e-mails!), terrific films such as Dazed and Confused . . . and this extraordinary box set of seven CDs which unflinchingly collects up the great (James Brown's The Payback, Freda Payne's Band of Gold...

Wheedle's Groove, Kearney Barton (Light in the Attic)

Wheedle's Groove, Kearney Barton (Light in the Attic)

Seattle’s claims to musical fame run from 60’s garage bands (the Sonics) through Hendrix, grunge and more recently Modest Mouse -- but it also once boasted a strong (if largely overlooked) soul-funk scene. Here some of its senior citizens -- most players are in their 60s -- get tight (and loose) on some fatback sounds which are...

Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen: Inspiration Information 4 (Strut)

Jimi Tenor and Tony Allen: Inspiration Information 4 (Strut)

The Flight of the Conchords’ astute parodies have spoiled some music for us -- and the opener here where Jimi Tenor oozes darkly “lean against the wall, I want to do it dancehall style with you baby . . . I got my tightest pants on” sounds so close to a Jemaine sleazy rap you’ll laugh aloud. That’s the intention,...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Aretha Franklin; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Aretha Franklin; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

It's widely acknowledged that Columbia really didn't know what to do with the young Aretha Franklin -- although it is a convenient myth that she didn't record much for them worth hearing. But it is certainly true that when she moved to Atlantic in '66 at age 24 and came under the tutelage of Jerry Wexler she found her voice as the finest...

Various Artists: The History of Rhythm and Blues 1942-52 (Rhythmandbluesrecords/Southbound 4 CD Set)

Various Artists: The History of Rhythm and Blues 1942-52 (Rhythmandbluesrecords/Southbound 4 CD Set)

If the previous collection in this excellent series -- which went from country blues in the Twenties to swing, boogie and jump jive in the early Forties -- laid out the ground, this equally fine (and fun) set picks up the pace and moves from the clubs of Harlem into proto-rock'n'roll. In the early part of the first disc (entitled Jumpin'...

A RHYTHM AND BLUES TIMELINE 1900 - 1960

A RHYTHM AND BLUES TIMELINE 1900 - 1960

Here follows a broad outline of the growth and development of rhythm and blues, courtesy of Rhythm and Blues Records in the UK, a company which specialises in this music.  PRE 1910 1877 Invention of the Phonograph 1883 Racist coon songs introduced into vaudeville and burlesque 1896 Jim Crow Segregation laws 1897...

Galactic: Ya-ka-may (Anti)

Galactic: Ya-ka-may (Anti)

New Orleans may have been the birthplace of jazz and home to funky pianists (Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Dr John), but in the 90s a new form of hip-hop (called bounce) came from the streets and incorporated punchy rhythms and second-line bass parts which drew from NO funeral marches. The bruising bounce movement -- the soundtrack to...

Angelique Kidjo: Oyo (Razor and Tie/Shock)

Angelique Kidjo: Oyo (Razor and Tie/Shock)

When singer Kidjo from Benin emerged in the early Nineties it seemed to me she got more mileage than she deserved, largely on the back of her story and looks rather than the music. Her early albums prior to and including Aye ('94?) really did nothing for me and so I tuned out for a while. But then it became increasingly clear that Kidjo was...

The Pointer Sisters: How Long; Betcha Got a Chick on the Side (1975)

The Pointer Sisters: How Long; Betcha Got a Chick on the Side (1975)

Long before they became a smooth soul-pop machine in the mid Eighties and beyond, the Pointer Sisters (then a quartet of June, Bonnie, Anita and Ruth), delivered some slashing r'n'b funk such as this self-penned (Anita and Bonnie, with producer David Rubinson) single which went to number one on the soul charts and 20 on the main Billboard...

MICHAEL JACKSON; LIVE IN '96: The man who fell to Earth

MICHAEL JACKSON; LIVE IN '96: The man who fell to Earth

Somewhere around the midpoint of his often exceptional but undeniably messianic concert in Amsterdam 10 days ago, Michael Jackson fell to his knees and appeared to weep uncontrollably. Jackson -- whose stage craft was impeccable and dancing as exciting as expected -- remained hunched over and apparently sobbing on the enormous stage for...

Johnny Guitar Watson: Funk Beyond the Call of Duty (1977)

Johnny Guitar Watson: Funk Beyond the Call of Duty (1977)

By the time Johnny Guitar Watson made the album of which this was the title track, he was 42, had been on about 15 different labels and had really paid his dues: he'd started recording at 17, been something of an r'n'b star in the Fifties and by the Seventies had edged his way to streetcorner funk. He pioneered feedback on Space Guitar in...

Eru Dangerspiel: Great News for Modern Man (Loop)

Eru Dangerspiel: Great News for Modern Man (Loop)

The Eru Dangerspiel rock'n'rolling caravan of soul, funk, reggae and more is helmed by Riki Gooch, formerly of TrinityRoots and here, recorded live at the Auckland Town Hall in August '09, the whole huge ensemble invited you to "leave your shit at the door" and get down with their good time grooves. With an extraordinary line-up of...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall and Thriller (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall and Thriller (Sony)

Michael Jackson has been dead for over a year now -- almost 18 months in fact -- and the marketing rolls on: there will be a new album (entitled Michael) on December 14 2010 and you can read the details here. But while we now expect such posthumous things from our dead musicians, there's also a place for simply looking back at what once was...

Ardijah: The Best; PolyFonk (PolyFonk)

Ardijah: The Best; PolyFonk (PolyFonk)

In the decade before hip-hop became the distinctive voice of South Auckland, the Polynesian soul-funk of Ardijah was the most prominent and carried to a wider audience by the singles Give Me Your Number, Watching U and Time Makes a Wine from their platinum-selling 88 album Take a Chance. Helmed by multi-instrumentalist/writer/producer...

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange + Experimental Remixes (Shout Factory/Southbound)

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: Orange + Experimental Remixes (Shout Factory/Southbound)

The JSB Explosion's early catalogue has undergone the remastering/expansion process but here's the essential starting point on any investigation: Orange from '94 was their career highpoint, an album which dragged their alt.rock/Elvis-on-speed, rock'n'roll blues into mainstream attention for its concise, harmonica-wheezing, Cramps-like energy and...

Femi Kuti: Africa for Africa (Wrasse)

Femi Kuti: Africa for Africa (Wrasse)

In 1970 George Melly wrote Revolt into Style, a witty and sometimes scathing look at how the revolutionary, anti-establishment figures in pop art and culture had been assimilated into the mainstream as just another fashion/style accessory. You'd wonder what Melly might make of Nigerian firebrand musician and lightning-rod political...

STKS: Rhythm and Brown (M4U Records)

STKS: Rhythm and Brown (M4U Records)

In November 2010, when most media people were looking the other way unfortunately, a new Auckland-based record label M4U launched itself with a showcase of its talent in a hip bar on Ponsonby Rd. The two most impressive acts bookended the night: the terrifyingly talented young singer Ria who stopped the chatter from her first...

THE T.A.M.I. AWARDS, a concert film by STEVE BINDER

THE T.A.M.I. AWARDS, a concert film by STEVE BINDER

Widely considered one of the best rock films ever made, this long-overdue DVD release might throw you back to 1964 ( to the Teenage Awards Music International) but from the hysteria with which the acts are greeted, and the non-stop stage action (no fluffing about) you barely have a chance to catch your breath. So this might be a period piece...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming (Daptone)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming (Daptone)

The title here is certainly true: 63-year old Florida-born Bradley -- an exceptional soul singer who sounds like a distillation of James Brown, aching Otis Redding, the troubled Marvin Gaye, searching Al Green and the much overlooked Sonny Charles of the Checkmates -- has barely had a chance to dream in a hard-working life. Bradley seems to...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bootsy's Rubber Band; Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bootsy's Rubber Band; Original Album Series (Rhino)

With a more wobbly funk bass than his former boss James Brown, some psychedelic humour, Brown's horn players, Bernie Worrell on keyboards and George Clinton producing, it was almost impossible for Bootsy Collins to miss the huge target of the dancefloor from the mid Seventies. And two of the albums in this five CD set (in replicas of the...

El Rego: El Rego (Daptone)

El Rego: El Rego (Daptone)

DJs like nothing more than unearthing obscurities – makes them hipper than thou – but UK archivist/platter-spinner and all round good guy Frank Goesser does us a favour with this collection of a dozen late Sixties/early Seventies sides by Afro-soul singer Theophile Do Rego (aka El Rego) from Benin. In the brief but excellent...

SOLOMON BURKE INTERVIEWED (2002): The rock'n'soul preacherman

SOLOMON BURKE INTERVIEWED (2002): The rock'n'soul preacherman

Just exactly when soul music disappeared off radio and out of people's consciousness is hard to pinpoint. Soul - born in the church and taken to the street by Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and many others in the Sixties -- simply evaporated by the early 70s. Marvin, Otis and Sam were gone, and some say the golden age ended...

Rod Stewart: Singer, believe it or not

Rod Stewart: Singer, believe it or not

When Rod Stewart came to New Zealand in 1992 he wasn't doing any interviews. He was sick of questions about his then-wife Rachel Hunter. And so the shutters went up. I spoke with him. It was easy. I simply let it be known I couldn't give a toss about his wife, I wanted to talk to him as a singer and songwriter (an aspect of Rod which is too...

Gladys Knight: Talent with talons

Gladys Knight: Talent with talons

Press conferences are a waste of time and no sensible journalist entertains them. Ask your best question and everyone else gets the great answer. And if you are a print journalist those lazy slime from television go to air that night with it and you can wait a day to see it in the paper. And then your mates think you copied it from...

Stevie Wonder: The Wonder of You

Stevie Wonder: The Wonder of You

The curious thing about going to meet famous people is sometimes you don't recognise them and end up sitting in the bar or cafe counting the ceiling fans until you realise your prey is that little bald guy over there. No such problem with Stevie Wonder, and not just because his braids are like a flag which announces his presence. Nope, I...

Fela Anikulapo Kuti: The Black President; The Best Best of Fela

Fela Anikulapo Kuti: The Black President; The Best Best of Fela

The great Fela -- who died of Aids-related illnesses in 97 -- was a superstar in Nigeria. He single-handedly created incendiary and righteously angry Afrobeat by welding together James Brown funk and the politics of resistance with a huge horn-driven band . . . and no one since has been able to match him for driving, percussive music and...

Various Artists, Tommy Boy Greatest Beats Vol 1. 1981-96

Various Artists, Tommy Boy Greatest Beats Vol 1. 1981-96

Hip-hop is such an integral part of music today that it is hard to believe radio stations once proudly announced "no crap, no rap". With everyone from classical quartets, gospel legend Mavis Staples, alt.country singer Steve Earle and stadium-shakers U2 using scratching and samples, the tools of hip-hop have crossed genres and...

Irma Thomas, The Irma Thomas Collection (1996)

Irma Thomas, The Irma Thomas Collection (1996)

In music, titles are bestowed by The People rather than being handed down from above -- and they are so singular and specific that there can only be pretenders but no replacement figures. So there is only one King of Rock'n'Roll and that's Elvis, only one Queen of Soul and that will always be Aretha, and only James Brown will ever be considered...

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN DVD REVIEWED (2003)

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN DVD REVIEWED (2003)

When music magazines make up lists of great players - best drummer, top guitarist or whatever - one name invariably appears in the best bassist countdown: James Jamerson. At which point most people might fairly ask, "James who?" Which is exactly the problem this exciting, moving, good-natured soul-funk documentary seeks to redress....

Van Morrison, It's Too Late to Stop Now (1973)

Van Morrison, It's Too Late to Stop Now (1973)

Anyone coming Johnny Rogan's thorough and sometimes exhaustive biography of Van Morrison, No Surrender, to find out why Morrison is such a curmudgeon will learn soon enough: it seems he has always been a grumpy, sullen and, when young, an occasionally violently surly character.  As a child he had lamentable social skills...

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