Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

James Brown: Get Up Offa That Thing [Polydor, 1976]
"I'm Black, I'm Back?" is how JB begins the commercial message on the jacket, and the title track is his biggest single in a year and a half. "I can see the disco now," he emphasizes, and even the blues and the ballad cultivate a groove designed to reintroduce him to that alien world he founded. But he sounds defensive because he has a reason to be--he can't hit the soft grooves the way he can the hard ones. When he starts equating himself with Elvis Presley (just before the fade on "I Refuse to Lose"), you know the identity problems are getting critical. B-