The R&B, soul and boogaloo sounds that make up the singles recorded by James Brown’s right-hand man. Together on CD for the first time.
Without Bobby Byrd there would have been no James Brown, whose whole career stems from the moment he crashed into Byrd at a community baseball match in Toccoa, Georgia in 1953. Brown was an inmate of the Alto Reform School, a converted National Guard Armoury in the north of the state. Byrd’s family helped secure Brown’s release, and Byrd then let the youngster join his vocal group.
When Brown launched his own singing career, Byrd led his backing group the Famous Flames from that point on. For 20 years he was Brown’s right-hand man. Once Brown had established himself well enough to make records with members of his revue, Byrd was top of the list of those he wanted to record. In the 1970s Byrd cut groundbreaking funk such as ‘I Know You Got Soul’. Before that he spent the 60s recording a series of 45s, all produced by Brown. This is the first-ever compilation of that work.
Bobby Byrd died on 12 September 2007, less than a year after James Brown. To most people he will be remembered for his much-sampled work of the early 70s – his music was behind hits by acts as diverse as the Stone Roses, Eric B & Rakim and Jay Z – but his earlier recordings give a fascinating glimpse into a different era.
This collection shows the power of Brown as a producer and Byrd as a singer: 24 songs that have Brown pushing the sound of R&B and soul, looking for his next direction. Released on Federal, Smash and King, these recordings are the missing links in the development of James Brown’s music, and as such are historically important as well as fantastically good music.