ARTIST: James Brown
TITLE: Please Please Please
YEAR RELEASED: 1959
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Please, Please, Please (#105, #5 R&B), Try Me (#48, #1 R&B), I Don’t Know, No No No No, Chonnie-On-Chon, Just Won’t Do Right
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No. The rest were songs that were B-sides or single rejects.
LINEUP: James Brown, Bobby Byrd, Johnny Terry, Sylvester Keels, Bill Hollings, Louis Madison, Natfloyd Scott and session guys.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: King Records cashes in after “Try Me” hits and releases all of Brown’s singles and sessions to date.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “Please, Please, Please” sold a million copies, but nothing else stuck until “Try Me” was released two years later. By then the original Flames (who recorded a lot of these songs with Brown as lead) had split and Brown was on his own.
No matter, because Brown was on his way. This album catches Brown and the Flames at their leanest and hungriest. They keep trying for that next hit so there’s a lot of effort here. And since King wanted to entice buyers, they put 16 tracks on this one.
It’s really good 50’s vocal group R&B, a little too southern to really be doo-wop, but Brown’s lead and the Flames’ answers do evoke that style somewhat. Not every song is a winner, but Brown wrote all but three of the 16, so he was going down swinging with his own stuff.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The legend is that Little Richard wrote the words “Please, Please, Please” on a napkin for Brown, and he made a song out of those words.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B-: Everything here is OK, and the two hits are nice. It’s not essential Brown except for the hits, but fans of early R&B will dig it.