Elemental Music proudly presents a 180-gram LP gatefold reissue of Soul on Top, which finds the Godfather of Soul making an intriguing detour into jazz-minded bigband territory. Recorded in 1969 and released by King Records, Soul on Top combines Brown with the Basie influenced orchestra of jazz drummer Louie Bellson, conducted by the genius of Oliver Nelson, who was also in charge of the arrangements. Stylistically, the results are somewhere between soul funk and the funkier side of big-band jazz. This masterpiece combines soul, funk, and jazz, and finds James Brown revisiting some major hits, such as “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, in addition to embracing standard songs like “September Song,” “That’s My Desire,” and some more typically associated with jazz and traditional pop. Although not among the Godfather’s better-known efforts, this fine album is happily recommended to anyone who holds R&B and jazz in equally high regard.
SIDE A :
01. THAT’S MY DESIRE 4:10
02. YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART 2:59
03. WHAT KIND OF FOOL I AM? 3:06
04. IT’S A MAN’S, MAN’S, MAN’S WORLD 6:40
05. THE MAN IN THE GLASS 5:55
06. IT’S MAGIC 3:14
07. SEPTEMBER SONG 5:02
08. FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE 4:43
09. EVERY DAY I HAVE THE BLUES 4:28
10. I NEED YOUR KEY (TO TURN ME ON) 3:46
11. PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG 4:41
James Brown, lead vocals
Louie Bellson, drums, leader
Oliver Nelson, arranger, conductor
The Louie Bellson Orchestra:
Al Aarons, John Audino, Chuck Finley, Tom Porello (trumpet); Jimmy Cleveland, Nick DiMaio, Kenny Shroyer, Bill Tole (trombone); Joe Romano, Ernie Watts (alto saxophone); Pete Christlieb, Buddy Collette, Maceo Parker, Jr. (tenor saxophone); Jim Mulidore (baritone saxophone); Frank Vincent (piano); Bill Pitman, Louis Shelton (guitar); Ray Brown (bass); Jack Arnold (percussion).
Recorded at United Recorders, Hollywood, California, November 10 & 11, 1969. Original recordings produced by James Brown.