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In 1963, James Brown had earned a handful of hits on the R&B charts and had won a reputation as one of the most dynamic performers in the nation, but he hadn't yet made a record that reflected the full range of his musical personality or his magnetic stage presence. Live at the Apollo killed these two birds with one smoking hot platter; while this performance predates the brittle but powerful funk grooves which would later make Brown the most sampled man in show business and focuses on his earlier and (relatively) more conventional hits, the building blocks of his pioneering sound are all here in high-octane live versions of "I'll Go Crazy," "Think," and especially the frantic closing performance of "Night Train," while the ten-minute-plus rendition of "Lost Someone" captures the sound of Brown baring his soul with an almost unbearable intensity, which drives the audience into a manic chorus of shouts and screams. Brown's band (which at this time included Bobby Byrd and St. Clair Pinckney) is in stellar form, tight as a fist (especially the horn section) and supporting their leader with both strength and subtlety, but Brown is truly the star of this show, and by the end of these 32 minutes, no one will doubt that James really was the hardest working man in show business (and this without even seeing him dance!), and his communication with his audience is nothing short of astounding. While James Brown would later make more amazing music in the studio, Live at the Apollo left no doubt in anyone's mind that he was a live performer without peer, and that his talent could communicate just as strongly on tape as in person; a watershed album, both for James Brown and for the burgeoning soul music movement. [Polydor issued a special vinyl edition in 2008.]

James Brown - Live at the Apollo - Vinyl Reissue

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