Remixed Dance Hits

James Brown

Goldenlane Records, 2001

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Brown

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/14/2001

Have you ever heard the phrase, "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck"?

Well, imagine applying this logic when first checking out Remixed Dance Hits, a CD credited to James Brown. Let's follow the "duck" logic: The CD has James Brown's name on the spine. It features remixes of songs by James Brown. It even has James Brown's picture on the cover. Yet once you slap this disc into the player, what comes out of your speakers is only distantly related to James Brown, as these remixes work samples from Brown's best-known songs into a frenzied beat-per-minute dance-a-thon.

So, while the "if it walks like a duck" logic usually is right, Remixed Dance Hits is the exception. In short, duck it. (Gee, aren't you glad you waited for the eventual double entendre?)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

All of this might lead you to think I'm ready to rip into Remixed Dance Hits like a member of a weight-loss group would dive into a vat of Ben & Jerry's. Actually, I'm not gonna do that. Granted, there was disappointment that some of these songs strayed quite far from the original versions that people know and love. But taken as its own unique creature, this disc isn't actually bad at all - in fact, it's downright enjoyable at times.

Let's be honest, this isn't the kind of disc the casual fan of James Brown will pick up to learn about the Godfather Of Soul; there are dozens of best-of collections that do a better job for that purpose. But this is the kind of disc one could see being played at a block party (remember those, kids?) or at any gathering where you want to turn up the dancing energy a notch. In this regard, this disc succeeds.

Even in this regard, there's enough material on Remixed Dance Hits that does keep true to the original visions of the songs. The "Da' Funked Mix" of "Hot Pants" does sound like something that Brown would have put his stamp of approval on, and even manages to kick the original song into levels previously unimagined. Likewise, the "Digital Johnson Mix" of "I Got You (I Feel Good)," the "Feel It Mix" of "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and the "Fredco Mix" of "Super Bad" all will get you up and grooving - even if you did grow up listening to the original versions.

Only two particular numbers disappoint - the "Get Funky Mix" of "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine, Pt. 1)" and the "Splats & Star Mix" of "Get Up Offa That Thang" fail to really capture anything special. In the case of the latter track, the remixers happened to choose one of Brown's weakest "hits" from his career, so I'm willing to concede the source material limited what the remix could become.

Maybe Remixed Dance Hits isn't meant to be a James Brown CD per se; maybe it's not only meant to get the younger generation off its Red Bull-laden ass and dancing in the streets, but it's meant to re-introduce a musical legend to a group who might consider listening to the source material to be uncool. Admittedly, nothing will replace those original numbers, but if this is how the new generation wants to study James Brown, then I guess something's better than nothing.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Goldenlane Records, and is used for informational purposes only.