Monday, May 16, 2005
James Brown: Sex Machine Today
This is reissued? Good God A'mighty!
This is startling news. I was innocently surfing the net, you know "hanging out" when I saw this. I was looking at a list of James Brown albums that were still in print, hovered around his 1970 to 1978 work and saw that this 1975 P.O.S. was brought back into circulation.
If anyone knows me, they know I love talking about James Brown's '70s work, the peak, the albums and the decline. Pictured above is the decline. By 1975 it seemed that Brown was running out of inspiration. In four short years he had a hand in everything from albums like Get on the Good Foot, The Payback and my personal favorite Hell from 1974. James also was involved in albums from offshoot groups and artists like Fred Wesley and the JB's, Lyn Collins and a fine one from Charles "Sweet Charles" Sherrell. At this point, Brown's JB's weren't the happiest folks on earth, the session guys weren't too hot, the exodus started and "Sex Machine Today" finds Brown before it all fall apart, but the damage is done.
And what wreckage it is, so much so I have no idea why this nightmare has been restored to anyone's catalogue.
The Good: In this case good is being really charitable. The title song is a lazy-ass remake of Brown's 1970 hit "Sex Machine." And no it's no where near the original. This is an instance of Brown's music being, well, angry. At this point everyone was starting to catch up and James knew it. The studio banter with his band is funny though. At the end of the day all of that cackling didn't help them get paid any faster or at all.
The Middling: "Problems" is pretty much a "Funky President" knock-off and really who wants to hear James bitch.
The Horrid: Well that would be "Deep In It" a cringe inducing, clumsily arranged ode to sex. And really it's so bad and embarrasing it's not even worth the kitsch factor--and I'm all about the kitsch.