Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Get on the Good Foot" (1972)

30. James Brown, "Get on the Good Foot" (Sept. 9, 1972, #18)

JB yelps, "Que pasa, people, que pasa—hit me!" And this song kicks in as if the band had been playing it already for hours, if not centuries, which is hardly outside the realm of possibility (figuratively speaking, of course, in the case of the latter). I've got this one here as a kind of stand-in for all the many mighty sounds created by Brown and crew in the early '70s, many of which actually made their way to the top 40—"Super Bad," "Get Up, Get Into it, Get Involved," "Escape-ism," "Hot Pants," "Make it Funky," "I'm a Greedy Man," "Talking Loud and Saying Nothing," "I Got Ants in My Pants," maybe even "King Heroin," though that's decidedly a horse of a different color—and many of which can be found on the essential box set Star Time and/or the nearly as essential Make it Funky double-CD anthology (better to get both, if you care at all about funk or rock 'n' roll, as the duplications of version and even title between them are far more infrequent that you might suspect). "Get on the Good Foot" finds a band and its leader typically in full control of all faculties: the horn charts ripple with power and muscle, the rhythm guitar just about breaks off your neck keeping its time so tight, the famed bridge in this case knocks it into a kind of drunken, sprawling mode for the better part of a minute, and then back to the groove. The whole thing hurtles forward at the kind of pace that gets you breathing harder just hearing it, drives you to your feet, makes you throw your hands in the air like you just don't care, etc. You probably already knew at least that much.

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