Please Please Please

Artist: James Brown

Year: 1958

Genre: Rhythm & Blues

Grade: A

Combining R&B, doo-wop and a lil’ rock ‘n’ roll, James Brown (and His Famous Flames) ignites the black-music sex machine pull-start and never runs out of gas. The tunes — 16 of them — come at a rapid clip, led by the hit singles “Try Me” and the title track. For a debut LP, Please Please Please is scorched earth that puts most other R&B of the era to shame. As an early document of one of the greatest performers who ever lived, this is a must-have.

Even if “soul” music wasn’t bona-fide circa 1958, Brown’s voice is full of it. His rasp, grit, brut, charisma, char croon propels these songs past the chitlin circuit, but it’s the solid anchor created by the pounding backbeat that turns these tunes timeless. Dance to it, sing to it, or fuck to it, JB wouldn’t have it any other way.

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