James Brown | Sex Machine Today

I owned a small record store in Tampa in the 70s.  I had numerous hip customers who would turn me on to different sounds.  One day Tom, a true character in the best sense of the word, ran into the shop and slapped side two of “Sex Machine Today” on the turntable.  “Check this out,” he said.

What spilled out of the speakers was “Dead On It,” one of the funkiest songs I have ever heard.  What really nailed it, however, was the opening two minutes plus where James comments on the scene, noting that many groups claimed to have made it “all by themselves,” although, when prompted, they would acknowledge that it all goes back to James Brown.  He famously declares, “NOW WHEN THIS SESSION IS OVER, THEY’LL KNOW WHERE THE FUNK COME FROM!”

AMEN.  Overall, this is a very good if not spectacular JB recording, but “Dead On It” alone is worth the price of admission.  And “Get Up Off of Me” is incredibly strong.  “Sex Machine” is a nice reworking of the original monster hit.

But back one more time to “Dead On It.”  The band absolutely kills it, moving from one segment to another as if it were a history lesson.  The horns are amazing, but that’s what you expect with Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley and the boys.

And then there is the cover, with “Sex Machine” spelled out in cartoon naked women.  It just screams 1975.  I am REALLY glad Tom came to the store that day!



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