James Brown Albums Ranked

James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer, and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th century music and dance, he is often referred to by the honorific nicknames “Godfather of Soul”, “Mr. Dynamite”, and “Soul Brother No. 1”. In a career that lasted over 50 years, he influenced the development of several music genres. Brown was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural induction dinner in New York on January 23, 1986. Brown recorded 17 singles that reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts. He also holds the record for the most singles listed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart which did not reach No. 1. Brown was inducted into the first class of the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2013 as an artist and then in 2017 as a songwriter. He also received honors from many other institutions, including inductions into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In Joel Whitburn’s analysis of the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, Brown is ranked No. 1 in The Top 500 Artists. He is ranked No. 7 on Rolling Stone’s list of its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Here are all James Brown albums ranked.

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10. The Best Of James Brown (1969) (1969)

“Excellent selection of singles from the period 69/70 curated by hip-o select’s. There are 39 songs, some of which never appeared on albums. The quality is high, the period is one of the best for James Brown. Recommended”

9. Love Power Peace – Live At The Olympia, Paris, 1971 (1992)

“This album is just jaw-droppingly great. The energy that was put in to this show and I assume all James Brown’s shows is just overwhelming with it’s raw power and feeling This is stuff you can’t capture in a studio. The timing is perfect, everything is.”

8. There It Is (1972)

“There It Is’ parts 1 & 2 are very fast and groovy dance tracks devised by James Brown to entice people to dance. James Brown succeeds, but he does not stop there, he gives us King Heroin, an anti drug poem. He continues to preach and goes into a rant about the pitfalls of heroin on part 1 & 2 of ‘Public Enemy”. This poem starts off low then builds and builds from a whisper to a scream. The esoteric manner that James Brown speaks about drug use and scandals of his past suggest first hand drug knowledge and experience.”

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7. Try Me! (1959

“An unusual blues talent. Great Voice and excellent material. This is classic James Brown. Most of these songs I had never heard before and they are great!”

6. Star Time (1991)

“Star Time consists of 4 discs. The first disc is his earlier material. Disk’s 2 and 3 contain the most powerful grooves, in my opinion. Disk 4 is really funky and soulful. James Brown had one of the tightest bands of all-time. The guitarist, you have to hear this cat to believe it. Simply some of the most powerful, pulsating grooves ever recorded. The horns are so together and add a powerful push to the music. All of the horn voicings are elemental and powerful. There are no wasted notes.”

5. Sex Machine (1970)

“Of course this represents JB’s funk at it’s most potent and distinctive. Much like Duke Ellington,James had a vast catalog of songs he was already doing and re-doing to adapt to new eras and new musics. Of course here you have that chunky live version of the title song,where he’s still talking about where he’s going to play next. From there it’s onto another gurgling funk machine of “Borther Rap”. On a version of the ballad “Bewildered” he updates the lyric slightly to reflect the women’s movement,showcases romantic misunderstanding from the feminine end of things along with the masculine.”

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4. Please Please Please (1958)

“Already from the first track of this record of James Brown’s beginnings, you are fascinated and pierced by the accents of “Please Please Please” that suffer a strong influence of gospel, like a bit all the songs on the album. I am the rhythm and blues transformed into soul music by this great artist, master of African-American music, discovered in Macon in Georgia and immediately afterwards brought (we are in 1956) to a studio of recording, destined to become what everyone acclaim as the king of soul. “

3. The Payback (1973)

“”The Payback” was rush released as a single, which went right to the top of the R&B charts. The album didn’t fare too badly either, making #34 on the pop charts. So much for the musical tastes of film producers. “The Payback” is also noted for James Brown’s intense vocal performance, which was rumored to be a result of finding that a current squeeze was making time with Harold Melvin, of “and the Blue Notes” fame. James had a bigger tragedy to deal with however, his son Teddy was killed in a car accident that June 14th. Whether influenced by the album’s initial rejection, his woman troubles, or the death of his son, James Brown again turned adversity to a triumph, and not for the last time”

2. In The Jungle Groove (1986)

“If you’ve never heard of music before and are thinking of trying it out, then you could do no better than buy this album. After spinning it on your turntable or CD platter sit down and do nothing other than listen. You won’t need to listen to carefully as the music itself will grab you and transport you to a place where rhythms move and melodies soar. Horns, vocals, drums, bass, guitars. Make no mistake, this IS music. This is James Brown: your legions of funk bow down before the high general of soul. We await your musical orders. Hit me!”

1. Live At The Apollo (1963)

“The concert begins powerfully with “I’ll go crazy” and maintains that power all the way through to its “Night Train” ending. Even in 1962, James Brown was known as `the hardest working man in show business’, but the release of this album made him the undeniable `King of Soul’.”