James Brown got it together with the J.B.'s and stayed on the scene with fresh funk of this live double album device. In March of 1970, after most of his touring band walked out over a pay dispute, Brown flew in King Records studio band The Pacemakers to take over.
Bootsy Collins remembers: "We had no idea he really wanted us to play behind him. We had got to be his original band’s friends, we looked up to them, they were our heroes. We didn’t ever think we were crossing the picket line. But when we walked in we were actually crossing the picket line, unbeknownst to us. We walked in, the band looking really crazy, like, “Who are these?” - and we’re supposed to be their friends. So after we get through that mess and the crowd booing because James is late, the show is late and the people thinking we made the show late. So there’s a bunch of messes going on before we get back to the Godfather. But once we get back there he’s, “[imitates James Brown] Uhh. I knew you could do it. I want you to go onstage and when I call these songs out I want you to play what I call out.” “OK.” He knew that we knew all the songs. So we get onstage and he calls them out: “Cold Sweat.” Bam! “I Feel Good.” Bam! So we knew all the songs and we made it through the show. I don’t know how we made it. I was a little fuzzy because I was probably a little geeked, a little lit. It was unreal. Once we made it through the show it was, “OK, we’re taking off for two weeks. We’re gonna rehearse, we’re gonna get the show down, you’re gonna be the band and you’re gonna be called The JB’s.” ... Well, as you know or may not know those were the days, like, in the '60s getting ready to go into the '70s but, you know, it was another kind of movement going on. And kids were, like, coming up front and wearing, like, bleached jeans and T-shirts and afros and, you know, the Granny grasses. And, you know, we was all freaking out, we was having a freaking party, you know. And I don't know, then here we are. We're playing with James Brown and, you know, we're an army now. You know, it's like woah. You know, so it's like - but it was good for the fact that it kind of brought us off of the street. Were out there doing what everyone else was doing, acting crazy, doing firebombs and doing everything. You know, so getting with James kind of brought us off of the street. And, you know, I think we kind of realize that and at the same time, you know, it gave us a opportunity of really doing something that we wanted to do. So, you know, we kind of put everything else in the backseat because this is what we wanted to do. Even though, you know, we wanted to dress crazy - we didn't know how crazy we wanted to dress but we didn't want to wear suits, you know, we knew that...Yeah, while this movement was going on - the peace, the love - that was going on, you know, here we are, you know, getting stuck with wearing suits and patent leather shoes, you know. But at that time, you know, it was the start of it so it was cool, you know. We said, well we'll eat this because, you know, we definitely, you know, want to be with James, you know, so if you wanted to be with James that's what you had to do."
'Sex Machine' was recorded live in the studio (with overdubbed applause) and live on stage in Cincinnati, Ohio; Miami, Florida; and Augusta, Georgia with James Brown on organ, piano, vocals, and production; Bobby Byrd on organ and vocals; Bootsy Collins on bass; Phelps "Catfish" Collins on guitar; Joseph Davis on trumpet; Pee Wee Ellis on alto saxophone; Robert Graham on background vocals; Richard "Kush" Griffith on trumpet; Johnny Griggs on conga; Clayton "Chicken" Gunnells on trumpet; Darryl "Hasaan" Jamison on trumpet; Alphonso "Country" Kellum on bass and guitar; Ron Lenhoff on engineering; Art Lopez on percussion; Robert "Chopper" McCullough on tenor saxophone; Jimmy Nolen on guitar; Maceo Parker on organ and tenor saxophone; Melvin Parker on drums; St. Clair Pinckney on baritone and tenor saxophone; Kenny Poole on guitar; "Sweet" Charles Sherrell on bass; John Starks and Clyde Stubblefield on drums; Fred Wesley on trombone; Marva Whitney on background vocals; and Eldee Williams on tenor saxophone.
Brown would relate: "I taught an organization, they didn't have organization. And discipline is very important. You wouldn't take - I wanted them where they could play West Point, as well as play the street on the corner. I mean West Point or the Navy Academy place - I wanted to be able to go anywhere. And see when I wanted to play "Papa's Bag" and stuff like I could play it for the president and I could go play it for the people in the street ... I did a total program like at West Point - they got to be clean, neat. Your shirt got to be pressed, shoes got be shined, the suit got to be pressed, they got to play correct, they can't be looking off when they should be watching me because then they miss something. I'll fine them. Those people would rather not get fined and so they have to look more disciplined, and that's in every situation. I'm sure the President of the United States has ways of making people account for themselves."
"Sex Machine" became the new band's first single, going to number fifteen on the pop chart and number two on the R&B chart. Brown considered: ""Sex Machine" is misunderstood. A man and his girl are sitting down, talking at a table, and everybody is dancing. He said "Get up! I feel like being a sex machine."... Meaning... yeah. "Let's get up and party and dance. You know. Loose, sexy dancing. Enjoy ourselves. Turn each other on to each other." And then the words say: "The way I like it is the way it is / I got mine, and he got his—I got mine, don't worry about his." In other words, "You got your girl, I got mine. And sure, your girl is a fox, but I don't care how good your woman looks, I'm still only looking at mine." ... Well, sex, I don't know, if you're not far from it with the dancing and all that stuff and emulation that you do when they get on the floor whether it's ballroom, two-stepping, the funky chicken or the James Brown - all these different things. And that's what's in your mind if you go by a pool and see young ladies out there in their bathing suits - swim suits because the men don't wear them; the women do. I decided I would use that term because we was at this dance. I mean, a fellow's (inaudible) at this dance, and she's just sitting there, and he's sitting there. Nobody's doing anything, almost like wallflowers. So the fellow jumped up and said, get up. I feel like being like a sexy machine, and just danced. So that started - that was the concept. And it's not (inaudible) or really just somebody else's girl or man. He said, I got mine, don't worry about his. They were like, I like it the way it is. I mean, me and (inaudible) fine. I got mine. Don't worry about his, you know."
live in Rome
live in Monterey (part 1)
live in Monterey (part 2)
0:00:00 "Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine" (Brown, Bobby Byrd, Ron Lenhoff) - 10:48
0:10:45 "Brother Rapp (Part I & Part II) - (Brown) 5:09
Medley: - 13:42
0:17:49 "Bewildered" (Teddy Powell, Leonard Whitcup) - 6:09
0:23:58 "I Got The Feelin'" (Brown) - 1:07
0:25:06 "Give It Up or Turnit a Loose" (Charles Bobbit) - 6:26
0:31:30 "Licking Stick - Licking Stick" (Brown, Byrd, Pee Wee Ellis) - 1:19
0:32:59 "I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing (Open Up the Door I'll Get It Myself)" (Brown) - 4:31
0:37:54 "Lowdown Popcorn" (Brown) - 3:25 (studio recording)
0:42:19 "Spinning Wheel" (David Clayton-Thomas) - 4:02
0:46:22 "If I Ruled the World" (Leslie Bricusse, Cyril Ornadel) - 4:03
0:50:23 "There Was a Time" (Brown, Hobgood) - 4:04
0:54:30 "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" (Brown, Betty Jean Newsome) - 3:42
1:02:52 "Please, Please, Please" (Brown, Johnny Terry) - 2:26
1:05:19 "I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me)" (Brown) - 1:28
1:06:47 "Mother Popcorn" (Brown, Pee Wee Ellis) - 5:50
Funk Power: 1970: A Brand New Thang