James Brown – Live At Montreux 1981 (DVD/CD)
C Sound: B-/B Extras: D Concert: B
of the greatest runs in music history, James Brown has survived the Civil
Rights Movement, Vietnam, Racism, The Beatles, TV and all kinds of other
changes and competition, but he had not weathered the Disco era as well as the
previous challenges. It was 1981, but he
had not had a major hit since the mid-1970s.
His previous sales and charting made him the #1 R&B act ever, not
easy considering the greats like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye,
Stevie Wonder and other innovators too numerous to note here.
he did the music for the Blaxploitation classic Black Caesar and might have gone on to do more film music if there
had not been conflict between him and the producing studio over the sequel, his
finished music would have been in that film too. Instead, it became his studio album The Payback, a peak work that remains
sampled often and a late classic. With
Disco at its end and an appearance in the huge hit film The Blues Brothers, Brown was still in great form and Eagle Eye’s James Brown – Live At Montreux 1981 DVD/CD
set shows “the hardest working man in show business” was far from finished.
only lasts 71 minutes, but is a strong one and features the following tracks:
It’s Too Funky Around Here
Gonna Have A Funky Good Time
Get On The Good Foot
Its’ A Man’s Man’s Man’s World
Prisoner Of Love
I Got The Feelin’
Hustle (Dead On It)
10) Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag
11) I Got You (I Feel Good)
12) Please, Please, Please
14) Sex Machine
The CD is
only four tracks short of the DVD, but either way, the man had not sold out to
any other genre and why go Disco when it was finished? Despite his unfortunate personal problems,
the talent was always there and he was a more vital and viable music force than
he is often (amazing as that is) given credit for. In five years, he would find himself
triumphant on the charts again with his movie soundtrack (the Cold War camp of Rocky IV) hit Living In America in 1986.
It was his first major Top Ten or Top Five hit since 1968. Even if he has not followed up since, fans
never stopped loving Brown and his work.
James Brown – Live At Montreux
1981 is a testament to his greatness in action.
X 1 image was shot on NTSC analog video, though I wondered why none of it was
PAL or SECAM, unless there is some down-conversion I am unaware of. The sound is here in PCM 16bit/48kHz 2.0
Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1, which makes me wonder if this is among
the only times Brown has ever been available in any type of multi-channel
playback. Yes, there are the 24K Gold
CDs, endless CD box sets and pricey vinyl reissues, but no SACDs, DVD-Audios
have been issued. Some other DVD-Videos,
even with DTS, are out there, but we wonder if they are this good. There are no extras except an illustrated
paper pullout with good text on Brown, but nothing more. This is one of the better installments in
Eagle’s long-running Montreux series to date.
- Nicholas Sheffo