Live In Zaire - 1974
In the half-century career of James Brown there are multiple highlights, of which this 1974 show in Zaire as part of the buildup for the Rumble in the Jungle is unquestionably among the top few. Rightly christening himself The Minister of the New Super Heavy Funk somewhere around the recording of 1973's The Payback or Hell the following year, JB had pushed his grooves to the outer reaches and his cultural relevance to the brink. Frankly, with an output as overwhelming as his was around this time, releasing 45s and double LPs of new material on a seemingly weekly basis, JB was arguably spreading himself pretty thin. Professionally recorded (though never officially released) and arguably superior to any of his live LPs aside from Live at the Apollo (1963), this concert captures it all at its frothy peak just as the wave was about to break and the Godfather's career began its slow decline. This was a man on a mission to bring it all back to the Motherland at the peak of the Black Power movement, and he did not disappoint. Despite tremendous sound quality, the widely bootlegged version that appears here contains a mildly annoying gap between tracks and a few questionable edits that break the overall flow of the show. Other than that, this is the document of the master of funk at the peak of his powers.