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James Brown|The Payback

The Payback

James Brown

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Originally released in 1973 as a sprawling two-LP set, The Payback was one of James Brown's most ambitious albums of the 1970s, and also one of his best, with Brown and his band (which in 1974 still included Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, St. Clair Pinckney, Jimmy Nolen, and Jabo Starks) relentlessly exploring the outer possibilities of the James Brown groove. Stretching eight cuts out over the space of nearly 73 minutes, The Payback is long on extended rhythmic jamming, and by this time Brown and his band had become such a potent and nearly telepathic combination that the musicians were able pull out lengthy solos while still maintaining some of the most hypnotic funk to be found anywhere, and on the album's best songs -- the jazzy "Time Is Running Out Fast," the relentless "Shoot Your Shot," the tight-wound "Mind Power," and the bitter revenge fantasy of the title cut -- the tough, sinuous rhythms and the precise interplay between the players is nothing short of a wonder to behold. And even the album's lower-key cuts (such as the lovelorn "Doing the Best That I Can" and "Forever Suffering") sink their hooks into the listener and pull you in; quite simply, this is remarkable stuff, and even Brown's attempts at lyrical relevance (which were frankly getting a bit shaky at this point in his career) are firmly rooted enough to sound convincing. The Payback turned out to be one of James Brown's last inarguably great albums before he hit a long fallow streak in the mid- to late '70s, but no one listening to this set would ever imagine that this was the work of an artist (or a band) about to run out of gas.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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The Payback

James Brown

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1
The Payback (Album Version)
00:07:39

John Starks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fred Wesley, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Griggs, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - John Morgan, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Nolen, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Thomas, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Hearlon Martin, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Lowell Dorn, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Both, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1973 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Doing The Best I Can (Album Version)
00:07:39

John Starks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fred Wesley, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Charles Fred A. Bobbit, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Griggs, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - John Morgan, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Nolen, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Thomas, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Hearlon Martin, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Lowell Dorn, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Both, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1973 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Take Some - Leave Some (Album Version)
00:08:33

John Starks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fred Wesley, String Arranger, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Charles Fred A. Bobbit, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Griggs, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - John Morgan, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Nolen, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Thomas, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Hearlon Martin, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Lowell Dorn, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Both, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1973 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Shoot Your Shot (Album Version)
00:08:06

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fred Wesley, ComposerLyricist - Charles Fred A. Bobbit, ComposerLyricist - Lowell Dorn, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Both, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1973 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Forever Suffering (Album Version)
00:05:52

John Starks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fred Wesley, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MACEO PARKER, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Fred A. Bobbit, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Griggs, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - St. Clair Pinckney, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - John Morgan, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Nolen, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Thomas, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Hearlon Martin, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Lowell Dorn, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Both, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1973 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Time Is Running Out Fast (Album Version)
00:12:45

Charles Sherrell, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Starks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fred Wesley, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MACEO PARKER, Flute, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Fred A. Bobbit, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Griggs, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - St. Clair Pinckney, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - John Morgan, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Nolen, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Thomas, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Hearlon Martin, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Lowell Dorn, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Both, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1973 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Stone To The Bone (Single Version)
00:10:14

John Starks, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - JAMES BROWN, Producer, Organ, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fred Wesley, Trombone, AssociatedPerformer - MACEO PARKER, Flute, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Griggs, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - St. Clair Pinckney, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - John Morgan, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Nolen, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Thomas, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Hearlon Martin, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Jerone "Jasaan" Sanford, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Lowell Dorn, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Both, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Isiah Oakley, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1973 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Mind Power
00:12:04

JAMES BROWN, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Fred Wesley, ComposerLyricist - Charles Fred A. Bobbit, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1973 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

Originally released in 1973 as a sprawling two-LP set, The Payback was one of James Brown's most ambitious albums of the 1970s, and also one of his best, with Brown and his band (which in 1974 still included Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, St. Clair Pinckney, Jimmy Nolen, and Jabo Starks) relentlessly exploring the outer possibilities of the James Brown groove. Stretching eight cuts out over the space of nearly 73 minutes, The Payback is long on extended rhythmic jamming, and by this time Brown and his band had become such a potent and nearly telepathic combination that the musicians were able pull out lengthy solos while still maintaining some of the most hypnotic funk to be found anywhere, and on the album's best songs -- the jazzy "Time Is Running Out Fast," the relentless "Shoot Your Shot," the tight-wound "Mind Power," and the bitter revenge fantasy of the title cut -- the tough, sinuous rhythms and the precise interplay between the players is nothing short of a wonder to behold. And even the album's lower-key cuts (such as the lovelorn "Doing the Best That I Can" and "Forever Suffering") sink their hooks into the listener and pull you in; quite simply, this is remarkable stuff, and even Brown's attempts at lyrical relevance (which were frankly getting a bit shaky at this point in his career) are firmly rooted enough to sound convincing. The Payback turned out to be one of James Brown's last inarguably great albums before he hit a long fallow streak in the mid- to late '70s, but no one listening to this set would ever imagine that this was the work of an artist (or a band) about to run out of gas.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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