James Brown
The Payback


4.5
superb

Review

by Mr0 USER (13 Reviews)
July 25th, 2008 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1974 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A landmark funk album

A lot of people say that they play funk. A lot of people attest to have 'the groove', and insist they know how to 'feel the beat'. Well, James Brown (a.k.a The Godfather of Soul, The Hardest Working Man in Showbiz) knew what REAL funk was. And this, one of his finest recording achievements, is the benchmark by which all subsequent records labeled 'funk' must be measured by.

James Brown's recorded studio material, with some exceptions, was frustratingly unbalanced. He had a wealth of superior material, to which was applied twice as much filler. Brown's personality and power is best sampled through his live albums. They didn't call him 'The Hardest Working Man in Showbiz' for nothing. During the sixties, Brown would play upward of 300 gigs per year, which is three times as many as most big acts of modern times (for example the Red Hot Chili Peppers, one band who took considerable influence from this album) do on a headlining stadium tour. During this, he cultivated his following, refined his stage act and learned how to REALLY put on a show. As a result, by this point, he was an electric live performer and his band were equally as incredible. It's not surprising, therefore, that The Payback was cut as a live album. The key to this album is therein: it shows off the skills of Brown and crew as a live act, while providing a great crop of tunes with which to show their prowess.

We begin with the best known track of the Payback. In the funk world, 'The Payback' is ubiquitous. Brown's feisty ode to revenge, it has the distinction of being among the most hypnotic funk jams of all time. Brown is on top form, wailing and making fiery statements of vengeance, while his band sustain the momentum throughout the seven minutes flawlessly. The opening, a stop-start build up of horns and high, soulful backing vocals segue seamlessly into the main phrase, which is repeated over and over again. When seven minutes passes like three, you know you're dealing with a classic.
Beginning with such a well-known track can sometimes render the rest of the album overshadowed. But the other songs are a fair bit better than the other notoriously mediocre material that sometimes cluttered James Brown albums. The following tune, 'Doing the Best As I can' is equally impassioned, its soft blues and cutting hooks piercing like a thin blade. 'Shoot Your Shot's irrepressible energy is a particular highlight, with a jumpy rhythm and some of the most inspired interplay between the band yet. Not even the longest jam, the jazzy stroll (or sprint) of 'Time Is Running Out Fast', feels overlong or boring.

James Brown would hit a fallow period after this remarkable record. But this is an absolute corker: the virtuoso talents and vitality of the band plus the energy and lyrics of the main man himself give no hint at all as to what was to come. And for that, we should be thankful.

Download: The Payback, Shoot Your Shot, Mind Power



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user ratings (112)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
TheJesusCodpiece (5)
"I'm not going to f**king jail! Not tonight!"...


Comments:Add a Comment 
FenderUsa
July 25th 2008


582 Comments


Hell yea

Poet
July 25th 2008


6013 Comments


James Brown is awesome. Also 4 reviews in one day? jeez

ninjuice
July 25th 2008


6760 Comments


Yeah dude several reviews in one day is OK but not when they're all on the front page at once.

ninjuice
July 25th 2008


6760 Comments


We all crave attention and hate others having it.

McP3000
July 25th 2008


4049 Comments


i hope he's just deciding to submit them all at the same time rather than he wrote them all today

he'd be a nutter if he did them all today

ninjuice
July 25th 2008


6760 Comments


No, I'm just saying, who cares if some guy wrote a bunch of reviews in a day and they're all on the front page?

It knocks off other people's reviews so you can't see them. At least that's my problem with it.
At least the review is good.This Message Edited On 07.25.08

scheim
July 25th 2008


28 Comments


Great review. I wonder how many other reviews use the word "fallow"!

Mr0
August 2nd 2008


24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, sorry for all those reviews. I'm just practicing for my school newspaper, and I thought I might like let other people rate them and stuff.

schan wharton
August 8th 2008


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great Man, Great Music, Great era

MUNGOLOID
October 20th 2009


4496 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you just cannot go wrong with James Brown. you just can't.

random
June 13th 2012


2736 Comments


The title track rules.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 24th 2013


11607 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Such a fine album and only 11 replies?

Chrisjon89
May 24th 2013


3833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah it rules. Love, Power, Peace is incredible too. band is really great.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
May 24th 2013


11607 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have to admit that his only live performance I've listened so far is Live At The Apollo which is pretty awesome. I will definitely give Love, Power, Peace a spin.



I also added Say It Loud, I'm Black And I'm Proud yesterday to the database and it's amazing. I strongly recommend it if you haven't listened to it already.

Chrisjon89
May 24th 2013


3833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haven't heard that. i'll try and check it, as well as Sex Machine.

ffs
April 7th 2014


5331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

probably the worst album art ever

Chrisjon89
April 8th 2014


3833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you familiar with Ken? By Request Only?

DikkoZinner
September 30th 2015


5317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can dig scrappin'

Gwyn.
March 28th 2016


17173 Comments


Classic album

AcidCaravan
September 17th 2016


442 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The FUNK album.



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