There are two key James Brown compilations from the mid to late 1980s that seemed to flesh out his newfound status as the hardest working sample in showbusiness.
First off there was 1986’s In The Jungle Groove, an essential purchase for any budding DJ, if only for its Bonus Beat Reprise remix of Funky Drummer – almost three minutes of Clyde Stubblefield’s drum-break that served as the heartbeat of so much seminal hip hop.
Two years later, and surely onto a good thing, Polydor released Motherlode into the wild, another double LP of unreleased oddities and remixes. Like In The Jungle Groove, it focuses on the deep funk of James Brown in the 1970s – more Minister Of New New Super Heavy Funk than any of his prior personas. The standout track here is the full 7 minutes and 27 seconds of I Got Ants In My Pants (And I Want To Dance), previously only available in two-parts split over the November 1972 single.
I’ve always resisted the idea of picking up a second-hand copy of this record. Second-hand James Brown records tend to vary from bad to worse to absolutely trashed, usually from being DJ’d with, and I thought that a shiny new reissue was well out of reach at around $65. It’s essential, but not that essential, particularly as I know it like the back of my hand. But I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the recent 2019 reissue for only $20 at JB Hi-Fi. I’ll support my local record store every which way I can – and I do – but even I can’t remain so principled when one of the chain stores has this great a deal.
Hidden Gem: Funk Bomb (Instrumental)