Full performer name: James Brown & His Famous Flames.
THINK!, a collection of Brown's 1960-61 singles for the Federal and King labels, was his third LP.
Personnel includes: James Brown, Bea Ford (vocals); Bobby Roach, Les Bute (guitar); Alfred Corley, George Dorsey, James McGary (alto saxophone); J.C. Davis (tenor saxophone); Roscoe Patrick (trumpet); Sonny Thompson, Alvin "Fats" Gonder (piano); Bernard Odum, Hubert Lee Perry (bass); Nat Kendrick (drums); Bobby Byrd, Bobby Bennett, Eugene "Baby Lloyd" Stallworth, Johnny Terry (background vocals).
Producers: Andy Gibson, Sydney Nathan.
Recorded at United Studios, Hollywood, California on February 20 and March 27-29, 1960; Beltone Studios, New York, New York on January 30 and June 27, 1959; King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio on November 11, 1959. Originally released on King (12-683) in 1960. Includes liner notes by Alan Leeds.
Digitally remastered by Gary N. Mayo (Polygram Studios).
For all intents and purposes, the kind of musical hyperactivity that came to be known as James Brown's forte began on 1960's THINK! The rhythmic verve that propels the songs, the arrangements that spotlight his band's burgeoning "funkyness" (an undiscovered word in 1960), in short, all those signifiers that showed up sporadically on PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE and TRY ME! are here in full, no bull. This has more than a little to do with the fact that Brown recorded THINK! with his touring ensemble, which by this time was a well-oiled groove machine.
Just listen to the drive of the title cut (a top ten R&B hit in the spring of 1960), and see if you can stop yourself from doing the shake. J.C. Davis' tenor, Alfred Corley's alto and Nat Kendrick's snare wrap the song's pulse in a funky blanket before JB utters a syllable, creating a rhythmic masterpiece that is a precursor to Brown's legendary horn/beat romps of the mid- to late-'60s. The Davis-led horns also steal the spotlight from the band-leader on "Good Good Lovin'," an up-tempo R&B shuffle with a ska-tinged guitar by Bobby Roach. "I'll Go Crazy" also benefits from Roach's guitar, rising above the standard shimmy on the strength of his eerie, travelling, repetitious lines. Still, reprieve from all this early funkin' about can be found on "You've Got The Power," a hoarse, soulful duet with Bea Ford.
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- Tribb to JB (D, Chuck)