The 1980s could not stop Soul Brother Number One. R&B/soul/pop icon James Brown responded to the slicker pop sounds of that era by hooking up with Dan Hartman (who had a hit himself with his "I Can Dream About You"). A savvy singer/songwriter/producer, Hartman outfitted Brown with some catchy tunes that couched his gruff, soulful vocals in some deceptively smooth, dance-oriented tunes (with just a touch of the Bootsy Collins sound). Unlike some productions designed to "update" a 1960s or '70s singer, these songs actually work with Brown's style and not against it.
The bouncy "Living In America" is a dance-floor classic in any era. "Gravity" urges Brown to let out his boisterousness strut about with pride and the almost trance-like "Repeat The Beat (Faith)" should inspire a new legion of DJs. Though this doesn't have the fervor of Brown's best '60s/'70s stuff, GRAVITY is still a fine, funky listen.
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- Tribb to JB (D, Chuck (Carlton Ridenhour))