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James Brown|Hell

Hell

James Brown

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James Brown's early-'70s run of classic singles and good-to-great albums is still impressive. Hell was the double album released a year after the gold-selling The Payback. To some, the title might put this effort in the realm of kitsch, but in many ways Hell was one of Brown's strongest albums. The album was the pinnacle of his work as the Minister of the Super New New Heavy Funk. From the tough and nimble Latin rhythms of "Coldblooded," and "Sayin' It and Doin' It" to the title track, all are prime pre-disco Brown. ("My Thang" is probably as hard and unrelenting as he got without spontaneously combusting.) The biggest surprise on Hell is that no matter how odd the song choices seemed, practically everything works -- excluding only "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "Stormy Monday," which arguably don't belong in James Brown's catalogue, let alone the same album. Ballad-wise, Brown fares better. "These Foolish Things Remind Me of You" has him getting all warm and fuzzy as he inexplicably throws in an "I'm hurt, I'm hurt" for good measure. That song, as well as the weepers "A Man Has to Go to the Cross Road Before He Finds Himself" and "Sometime," was produced by David Matthews, who could always get good ragged-yet-poised vocals from the Godfather of Soul. Although Brown did roll snake eyes on all of side three, he left Hell on a good note. "Papa Don't Take No Mess" is laid-back, funky jazz that's worth each of its 13-plus minutes. Despite a few detours, Hell is worth listening to.
© Jason Elias /TiVo

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Hell

James Brown

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1
Coldblooded (Album Version)
James Brown
00:04:46

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Hell (Album Version)
James Brown
00:05:07

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
My Thang (Single Version)
James Brown
00:04:19

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Sayin' And Doin' It (Album Version)
James Brown
00:03:08

JAMES BROWN, Composer, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - DAVE MATTHEWS, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Please, Please, Please (Album Version)
James Brown
00:04:14

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Terry, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
When The Saints Go Marching In (Album Version)
James Brown
00:02:41

JAMES BROWN, Producer, MainArtist - Traditional, ComposerLyricist - DAVE MATTHEWS, Arranger, Recording Arranger, Work Arranger, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You (Album Version)
Dave Matthews
00:03:15

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Jack Strachey, ComposerLyricist - DAVE MATTHEWS, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Holt Marvell, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Stormy Monday (Album Version)
James Brown
00:03:17

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - DAVE MATTHEWS, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron Walker, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
A Man Has To Go Back To The Crossroads (Album Version)
James Brown
00:02:57

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - DAVE MATTHEWS, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1971 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Sometime
James Brown
00:04:20

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - DAVE MATTHEWS, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bud J. Hobgood, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
I Can't Stand It "76" (Album Version)
James Brown
00:08:08

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Lost Someone (Album Version)
James Brown
00:03:41

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Bobby Byrd, ComposerLyricist - Lloyd Eugene Stallworth, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
Don't Tell A Lie About Me And I Won't Tell The Truth On You (Album Version)
James Brown
00:05:09

JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - DAVE MATTHEWS, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Joseph Maloy Roach, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
Papa Don't Take No Mess (Album Version)
James Brown
00:13:51

John Starks, ComposerLyricist - JAMES BROWN, Producer, Recording Arranger, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Fred Wesley, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1974 Universal Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

James Brown's early-'70s run of classic singles and good-to-great albums is still impressive. Hell was the double album released a year after the gold-selling The Payback. To some, the title might put this effort in the realm of kitsch, but in many ways Hell was one of Brown's strongest albums. The album was the pinnacle of his work as the Minister of the Super New New Heavy Funk. From the tough and nimble Latin rhythms of "Coldblooded," and "Sayin' It and Doin' It" to the title track, all are prime pre-disco Brown. ("My Thang" is probably as hard and unrelenting as he got without spontaneously combusting.) The biggest surprise on Hell is that no matter how odd the song choices seemed, practically everything works -- excluding only "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "Stormy Monday," which arguably don't belong in James Brown's catalogue, let alone the same album. Ballad-wise, Brown fares better. "These Foolish Things Remind Me of You" has him getting all warm and fuzzy as he inexplicably throws in an "I'm hurt, I'm hurt" for good measure. That song, as well as the weepers "A Man Has to Go to the Cross Road Before He Finds Himself" and "Sometime," was produced by David Matthews, who could always get good ragged-yet-poised vocals from the Godfather of Soul. Although Brown did roll snake eyes on all of side three, he left Hell on a good note. "Papa Don't Take No Mess" is laid-back, funky jazz that's worth each of its 13-plus minutes. Despite a few detours, Hell is worth listening to.
© Jason Elias /TiVo

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