James Brown - Live at the Apollo
These days it’s probably cooler to dig for James on Polydor in the 1970s, but he was a force to be reckoned with in the previous decade, and his early live review as captured here has become a cultural touchstone, now resting in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. As such, it’s funny that this 1962 concert recording clocks in under 32 minutes.
In that dizzying half-hour, James Brown and the Famous Flames rip through 14 songs and even throw in “Please, Please, Please” twice. You’d think this would make for a rushed performance. Far from it; James and his Flames always sound relaxed and perfectly paced, breaking out the fanfare only to punctuate the beginning and end of the show and transitions in between. The audience, for its part, shrieks in appreciation at each new song the band spits out.