Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

James Brown: Cold Sweat [King, 1967]
The modal title milestone one-upped Wilson Pickett's "Funky Broadway" and introduced JB's funky drummer number two, Clyde Stubblefield. The uptempo oldies Brown added to the hit to make an album--Lloyd Prince's "Stagger Lee," Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City," Little Willie John's "Fever," and Roy Brown's "Good Rockin' Tonight"--smelled a little fishy at the time. Now, however, they're caviar--JB's full voice and flawless time yoking proven classics to some of the tightest big-band blues ever recorded. The slow side pits Brown's ballad falsetto and ballad scream against some of the most elaborate r&b strings ever recorded. Especially on the two Nat King Cole numbers and an over-the-top "Come Rain or Come Shine," the falsetto wins by a mile. [Rolling Stone: The 40 Essential Albums of 1967]