Funk nirvana. James Brown has one of the richest and most influential bodies of work in musical history, but before this 1991 box set, his catalogue was a mess to sort through. Albums were in and out of print, singles were impossible to track down. The four discs of Star Time, though, are the very model of a great compilation — comprehensive without being overwhelming, they tell the complete James Brown story, using unreleased material and newly-discovered, unedited or unaltered versions of songs judiciously, to flesh out the incomparable greatness of Soul Brother Number One. Hearing “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” at its original tempo — it was sped up for release — is a revelation, and a live medley of “Brother Rapp/Ain’t It Funky Now” showcases the jaw-dropping, drill-team precision funkiness of one of Brown’s finest bands. After five hours, you still want more.
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