Classic Tracks: James Brown ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag’
Producer: James Brown • Engineer: Ron Lenhoff
Excerpt from Article by Richard Buskin
‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag’ was James Brown’s statement of intent as he abandoned soulful ballads in favour of a raw and frenetic new sound.
“Most of the time, working with James Brown, it would be down to the first complete cut,” recording engineer Ron Lenhoff told me when I interviewed him in 1988. “He’d say to me, ‘Ron, are you ready?’ and if I said, ‘Yes,’ he would cut it. After that, if he got all the way through it without stopping, I’d better have it on tape. I never ran into the situation where I didn’t have it on tape, but I sure as hell always worried about it.”
Lenhoff captured many of Brown’s most iconic performances during the halcyon years when he was signed to the independent King Records label in Cincinnati, Ohio. This was founded in 1943 by one Syd Nathan, who, after initially owning a record store there, launched King as a country‑oriented label and, in 1944, based it within an old chemical plant in Cincinnati’s Evanston neighbourhood…
James Brown & The Famous Flames.
Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag
Label: King Records. Released: 1964
Producer: James Brown
Engineer: Ron Lenhoff
Studio: King Records
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