Full performer name: James Brown & His Famous Flames.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, a collection of Brown's 1956-58 Federal singles, was his first LP.
Personnel includes: James Brown (vocals); Nafloyd Scott, John Faire, Kenny Burrell, Eddie Freeman (guitar); George Dorsey, John B. Brown (alto saxophone); Wilbert "Lee Diamond" Smith, Ray Felder, Cleveland Lowe, Clifford Scott (tenor saxophone); Alvin "Fats" Gonder, Ernie Hayes (piano); Clarence Mack, Edwyn Conley, Carl Pruitt (bass); Edison Gore, Reginald Hall, David "Panama" Francis (drums); Bobby Byrd, Johnny Terry, Sylvester Keels, Nashpendle Knox, Bill Hollings, J.W. Archer, Louis Madison (background vocals).
Producers: Ralph Bass, Andy Gibson.
Recorded at King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio and Beltone Studios, New York, New York between February 4, 1956 and September 18, 1958. Originally released on King (12-610) in 1959. Includes orginal release liner notes and new liner notes by Alan Leeds.
Digitally remastered by Gary N. Mayo (PolyGram Studios).
James Brown was well on his way to becoming the "hardest working man in show business" long before he became the Godfather of Soul. For him, the 1959 release of PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, his first LP, was the culmination of a better part of a decade on the R&B circuit, and of releasing singles on King Records' subsidiary, Federal--some of which make up this album. At this early stage of his career, Brown was closer to a roots-and-potatoes, R&B barnstormer than the Funky Godfather he'd evolve into, but the fire of his overwhelming stage persona and the growl of his vocal delivery were already apparent.
The title track was the biggest included hit (#5 on the R&B charts in 1956), outlining, as it did, Brown's ability to infuse a sultry, slow tempo and a simple lyric with the campy drama that would make it a performance show-stopper. Brown's earnest pleas seem directed at both his departing lover, and at the audience--he looks to both for acceptance--as Alvin "Fats" Gonder's piano tickles warmly in the background. Other highlights from the set include the Wynonie Harris-like, jump-blues romp, "Chonnie-On-Chon," and "Let's Make It," a confidentally expressed, mid-tempo swing that has Brown and the Bobby Byrd-led Famous Flames getting as lascivious as gentlemanly-crooning R&B brothers were allowed to get in 1956.
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- Tribb to JB (D, Chuck (Carlton Ridenhour))