Saturday, 5 June 2010

James Brown 'The Payback Mix (Part One)'

Chart Peak: 12


Mr. Brown returned to the British Hit Parade at No. 25 on 17/4/88, peaked at No. 12 on 1/5/88

Now, here's a logical progression. Early hip-hop tracks (and later ones, come to that) are famously laden with James Brown samples, and 'Bad Young Brother' includes that familiar "Do it!" So now seems as apposite a time as any for him to make his only Now appearance as a performer in his own right.

It's not immediately clear to my untrained ears exactly what this has in common with his 1974 single 'The Payback' or its 1980 sequel 'Rapp Payback', but you can see the appeal of the title as a statement at a time when his voice and riffs were becoming ubiquitous but not necessarily attached to his name; and he may have been after some literal payback too, in the days before rules about sample clearance were as tough as they now are. That said, I don't know how much he really had to do with this record, or when he was even told about it. It's a megamix featuring snippets of some of his most familiar moments, including the legendary Funky Drummer beat and large excerpts from 'Sex Machine'. Oddly enough, there's nothing from his arguably most famous song 'I Got You (I Feel Good)', but that recharted soon enough anyway thanks to Good Morning Vietnam. As a precis to his career and where all those little riffs in big hip-hop hits have come from, it's sort of informative but it doesn't fully convince as a record in its own right. More like a radio feature than an actual record you'd want to listen to, and yet somehow it's one of only three Top 20 singles for him over here.

It turned out to be even more topical, as it's namechecked in 'Tribute' by the Pasedenas, which entered the chart just as this was leaving it.

Available on:The Godfather: The Very Best of James Brown

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