James Brown – 1968 – I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me
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And so the funk begins.
I Can’t Stand Myself When You Touch Me seems to be the first full funk album, more so than Sings Raw Soul, and although there are still some ballads, covers and R&B tracks here, most of the disc is proper funk. This is the type of album he would be making for the next decade.
Right from the start of the title track, this has an immediacy in the playing that hadn’t been present on his studio albums before, this album has the level of energy that he previously was unable to harness in the confines of the studio. The production is also an improvement over past attempts, making the tracks sound heavier and more lively.
Most of the songs here use the funk template: short, endlessly repeated guitar and drum lines with Brown spouting improvised-sounding lyrics over the top, and that wonderful horn section providing melody over the incredibly danceable rhythms. The best of the funky tracks are the title track, “There Was a Time” and “Get It Together” (especially Pt.2, which is probably the best track here, though the listener is spoilt for choice when it comes to sixties funk groove).
There’s also an excellent cover of jazz standard “Time After Time”, and the customary instrumentals (“The Soul of J.B.”, “Funky Soul #1) are excellent as well, being memorable and imbued with funk.
A1 I Can’t Stand By Myself (When You Touch Me) Part 1 3:25
A2 There Was A Time 3:35
A3 Get It Together Part 1 3:50
A4 Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby 4:40
A5 Time After Time 2:59
A6 The Soul Of J.B (Inst) 2:42
B1 I Can’t Stand By Myself (When You Touch Me) Part 2 3:50
B2 Get It Together Part 2 3:50
B3 Why Did You Take Your Love Away From Me 2:30
B4 Need Your Love So Bad 3:25
B5 You’ve Got To Change Your Mind 3:50
B6 Funky Soul 2:03
Review by Soulmakossa
With ‘I Can’t Stand Myself‘ Brown churned out an album that, as opposed to many of his previously released outings, shows a remarkable amount of consistency: This is a funk festival above all, and man does it get the groove juices flowin’.
The title cut naturally was the big hit, a frantic funkathon further exploring the stuttersteppin’ groovadelics first heard on “Cold Sweat“; the drums and bass are all over this ‘un, with the Godfather delivering another super charged, super raw vocal.
Next up is funk feast no. 2, the driving rhythmic monster jam “There Was a Time“, with its persistent, incessant strut and ominous sounding horns. The bridge is so funky, it’s insane…
But wait until you hear the wickedly syncopated “Get It Together” roll on in… probably the most frantic, stupendously funky workout here. More of those stomping drums and Jimmy Nolen’s razor sharp guitar chanks.
Brown gets down in a more blues-based soulful bag with the downhome greasy vittle “Baby Baby Baby Baby“, a good ‘n’ bumpin’ slice of uptempo Southern Soul with a superb, droning Hammond purring in the back.
Even “Time After Time“, the jazz standard – and obviously recorded by a band other than James’ own Flames – is peppered up for funk consumption, with a big, brassy sound and hard socking drums.
Brown’s back with the Flames on the well-grooved instrumental “The Soul of J.B.“, proving his skills on the organ, while saxman supreme Maceo Parker goes for his on the second verse.
Most pop of all are the almost Motown-ish “When Did You Take Your Love Away” and the supper club lounger “I Need Your Love So Bad“, but Soul Brother #1 goes back to his roots as he belts out the Southern Soul vamp “You’ve Got to Change My Mind“.
But it ends on a groovin’ note, of course, with the Godfather manning the organ one more time on the swangin’, proto-blaxploitation instrumental “Funky Soul #1“.
A terrific, funk based album brimming with goodies…