As previously mentioned, James Brown made eight albums for Smash Records, five of which were instrumental. Handful of Soul, released in 1966, was the fourth (via). The album features covers and originals.One of the covers is a pretty interesting take on When a Man Loves a Woman.
Even if you’ve tired of the song (thanks, Michael Bolton), Brown puts a great twist on it. Female backing singers hold down the familiar chorus, but Brown’s organ takes the place of a lead singer, almost as if he’s doing a call and response between the backing vocals and the organ.
And if my elementary research is correct, Percy Sledge came out with the song in 1966, which means Brown’s cover likely was one of the first.
James Brown (at the organ) |
When a Man Loves a Woman
“There was a reason Brown’s band was so tight: Brown was known as one of the strictest bandleaders ever. He didn’t wait until the end of a show to dock someone’s pay if their shoes weren’t shined or if they played something he didn’t like.
“[Allan] Slutsky, who worked on ‘Standing in the Shadows of Motown’ with Bootsy Collins, who was a bass player for Brown, says if a trumpet player hit a bad note, Brown would dance over to the musician and, with his back to the audience, flash the fingers of both hands at the player. ‘That meant he was fining the guy $10,’ he said.”