[40] James Brown – Live At The Apollo (1963)


Set 18 2008, 20:14

James BrownLive at the Apollo, 1962

Whenever I hear James Brown, I can't help but think of Eddy Murphy's imitation in Saturday Night Live (Hot! tub!). In it, he does the kind of squeeking only James Brown (and Prince of course) can get away with. And hey, who doesn't love this kind of yelling? And who wouldn't want to see it live?

So yes, this album is again a live album. Seems like the best soul music is recorded live. Where the public went wild for Sam Cooke, they become hysterical here. I have never heard an audience like this. It sometimes escapes me why they become so extatic. But hey, "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" doesn't deserve less of course.

Apparently, the record company didn't want to release a live album, so James Brown financed the live recording himself. A very good decision: Live at the Apollo sold extremely well, and was for 66 (!) weeks on the Billboard Albums chart.

Maybe it is because James Brown had to pay for the recording himself, but the sound quality is quite inferior to Sam Cooke's album. Overall, I like Sam Cooke's Live At The Harlem Square's Club better. Whereas the songs on Sam Cooke's album are of constant (exciting) quality, there are some songs on this album that don't make me as hysterical as the public. True, I'll Go Crazy and Think are extraordinary songs, but Lost Someone is with his 10 minutes a bit too long (although it grows on you after some listens) and, strange as it is, I found the medley rather boring (except the beginning and the end). I do loooove the instrumental pieces between the first songs however: it's like you're listening to a very old fashioned radio show, haha.

So yes, this is an excellent live album. However, it has a few weaker moments (probably also caused by the not so extremely good sound quality), and therefore it doesn't beat Sam Cooke in the category 'Best Live Soul Album'. Not at all.

(Gil!: I'll Go Crazy, Try Me, Think, Night Train)



  • Dardan-H

    Haha :) I used to think the same way ;) Sam's 'Live at the Harlem Square Club' used to be my favorite Live-soul-album before I heared this one. I have to admit that Sam's album is at least even great, I just prefer 'Live at the Apollo', one of my favorite Soulalbums ever.

    Ott 2 2008, 20:31
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