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Penn's Picks: James Brown – There Was A Time

Artist: James Brown
Song/Album: There Was A Time (Single)
Writer(s): James Brown & the Flames
Year Released: 1967
Genre/Sub Genre: Soul / Funk

Released in 1967, There Was A Time is one of James Brown’s most powerful and intensely grooving songs, and this live performance from the Boston Garden in 1968 shows James and Flames at the peak of their powers. The song went on to peak at #36 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart, and #3 on the U.S. R&B Singles chart.

Take Note Of This:
The groove…it’s all about the groove! (And a stunning live performance as well)

Why it’s a “Penn’s Pick”:
There Was A Time is one of JB’s most searing, primal and grooving songs of all time. It’s immensely repetitive (of course), and James manages to keep the listener engaged by shifting the intensity levels between the vocal and instrumental break sections coupled with change-ups in his vocal delivery.

Ultimately, though, it’s all about the groove, and There Was A Time possesses one of the most low-down, infectious grooves of any JB Song. Check out this live performance video from the Boston Garden in 1968 to witness JB and the Flames performing the song at the peak of their powers!

PS – it’s rumored that James used to fine his musicians if they messed up during a live performance. Check out the beginning of the video where James has his eye on the band and ad-lib’s the lyric, “you know I gottcha.” Someone didn’t get paid that night!

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