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Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Singles, Volume 1: The Federal Years 1956-1960

Posted on Thu, Sep 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Singles, Volume 1: The Federal Years 1956-1960
Label: Hip-O Select
Media: CD
Format: Compilation
WorkNameSort: Singles, Volume 1: The Federal Years 1956-1960, The
Fifty years after the release of James Brown's first single ' 'Please, Please, Pleaseâ?� ' the archivists at Hip-O Select have released the first in a series of limited edition double-disc sets collecting all of JB's singles. Knowing the goodness that lies in store when they get to the voluminous non-LP singles of the late '60s and early '70s, it's easy to forgive the contents of this set. His voice and the material he sings on these cuts (which chronicle the first, formative and unsuccessful years of Brown's career) are derivative. Though 'Please, Please, Pleaseâ?� is still a devastating song, it's one of only a dozen on this 41-track collection that warrant revisitation. Uninspired, by-the-numbers '50s R&B cuts such as 'I Won't Plead No Moreâ?� and 'Can't Be the Sameâ?� are shaky, while other tracks ('Chonnie-On-Chon,â?� 'Doodle Beeâ?�) are embarrassing to hear. Nonetheless, the inclusion of the long-lost (and lo-fi) original demo version of 'Try Meâ?� along with occasional gems like the blistering 'I'll Go Crazyâ?� manage to compensate for the negatives. (Available exclusively at www.hip-oselect.com.)

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