Title - 'Gravity: Expanded' (Cherry Red Records)
Artist - James Brown
As we all (should) know by now, James Brown was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and recording artist of some very high musical stature. He is the originator of funk music and is a major figure of 20th century popular music and dance - still to this day.
In a career that spanned six decades, Brown profoundly influenced the development of many different musical genres. Brown moved on a continuum of blues and gospel-based forms and styles to a profoundly "Africanized" approach to music making.
For many years, Brown's touring show was one of the most extravagant productions in American popular music. At the time of Brown's death, his band included three guitarists, two bass guitar players, two drummers, three horns and a percussionist! The bands that he maintained during the late 1960s and 1970s were of comparable size, and the bands also included a three-piece amplified string section that played during ballads.
And so to today, and those wonderful people at Cherry Red Records have now released a digitally remastered and expanded edition of Gravity, the 1986 album from the Godfather Of Soul.
Compared to the material created for later albums by flavor of the month hacks like Jazzy B, C&C Music Factory, Full Force and more, the tunes and musicianship of white soulsters Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight seem bright and intelligent here on Gravity. Indeed, knowing the singles that came from this album back in the day, it still shocks me today that the cut 'Goliath' was never released as one!
Anyway, moving on, Gravity (as mentioned above) was produced by Dan Hartman, due in part to the phenomenal success of the hit single 'Living In America' - from the soundtrack to Rocky VI. The single gained the #4 spot in the Pop chart, #10 in the R&B, and #5 in the UK. As it turned out, the single 'Gravity' - although not a strong cut - still managed to reach #26 in the R&B chart, but a sad #93 in the Pop chart. The ballad 'How Do You Stop' - a personal favorite of mine - was the third single released and (thankfully) returned Brown to the R&B Top 10.
The original 8-track album kicks off this wonderful newly-remastered album, with the expanded section containing 12" mixes of all the released single, along with 7" single versions of 'Living In America,' 'Gravity' and 'How Do You Stop.' Which, personally makes no sense at all as the cuts are already on the album to begin with ... and differ not at all. Unless your ear is that finely tuned! The last track is fun though as if you crank it up, and learn the words, you yourself can be James Brown for a night belting out his lyrics to an instrumental version of 'Living In America.'
2. Lets Get Personal
3. How Do You Stop
4. Turn Me Loose, I'm Dr Feelgood
5. Living In America
7. Repeat The Beat (Faith)
8. Return To Me
9. Living In America (12" Version)
10. Gravity (12" version)
11. How Do You Stop (12"Version)
12. Goliath (12"version)
13. Living In America (Single Version)
14. Gravity (Single Version)
15. How Do You Stop (Single Version)
16. Living In America (Instrumental)
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