Live At The Apollo – James Brown (1963)

Album no. 40/1001

James Brown! The godfather of soul! This was his first live album, which he had to pay for out of his own pocket as his record company didn’t think it would sell. They were idiots.

This doesn’t have any of the really well known James Brown songs on it, but it’s a pretty energetic picture of the sort of stuff he was getting up to in 1963. There is a lot of audience screaming on this album, and even if the audio quality isn’t the highest it’s still full of life.

Have you listened to this album before?

NK: I haven’t, my main exposure to James Brown is the church scene in The Blues Brothers and soundtracks to Guy Richie movies. Sorry everybody.

CL: Same.

Standout track

NK: I think I have to go with ‘Lost Someone’, his voice really gets to shine. Do you know, after I was sort of disappointed by this? I was super excited because I know James Brown is a badass, but this didn’t really show it. The recording doesn’t quite do it justice I don’t think.

CL: I quite liked ‘I’ll Go Crazy’ and ‘Think’. They were movers. I’m really disappointed that none of his really well-known songs are on this album. And, as I’ve just discovered, that’s because this album was released waaaaaaay before any of those songs. So… disregard that.

NK: Does that also mean it was before possibly the greatest interview of all time?

CL: Oh wow. I had to stop watching.

NK: Maybe ‘most distressing’ is more appropriate than ‘greatest’.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

NK: I actually think this is the album to put on when you’ve just come home from a big night out and have realised that if you don’t eat something it will be a very painful next day so you’d better make a sandwich. That’s when you put this on.

CL: I wouldn’t recommend listening to this. I have no idea why you think this is good for sandwiches.

Why has this album been included on the list?

NK: I can absolutely get behind James Brown as an influential artist. That said, this album didn’t blow me away. His voice is good, there’s a lot of screaming, the band is super quiet, it sounds like the venue was a coffee shop and the crowd had to stand outside. I don’t know, after some of the stuff we’ve heard I didn’t think this was that special.

CL: I agree with this. There is way too much girly screaming on this album. It’s all a bit too much crooning. It’s not sexy enough. I know it’s only 1963, but come on. There’s too much squealing. It’s an UNRULY AUDIENCE.

NK: Especially after the live Sam Cooke album. Admittedly that wasn’t released until the 80s, but it’s way more ballsy than this.

Will you be listening again?  

NK: Probably not! I think he’s got better stuff later on. He had two more live albums come out over the next four years, and to be honest I am more interested in hearing those.

CL: None of those are on the list, just FYI.

NK: 😦

Rating

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums. I feel bad about it, sorry James. I don’t blame you, I blame whoever chose the albums.

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This was a total let down.

Listen to Live At The Apollo on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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