This may be a short review, but succinctness and brevity are perfect given the album being examined.
If Get On Up – The James Brown Story only gets one thing right, it is the soundtrack. Smartly, the film didn’t look towards remakes of Brown’s classics, but rather goes right to the source – the late, great James Brown. Honestly, if the best can be utilized, why not use the best? Having someone cover Brown’s work would only generate unnecessary sneers.
For those looking for a more complete, definitive compilation of Brown’s work, opt for the exceptional double-disc, James Brown: 50th Anniversary Collection (2003). It gives a better-rounded summarization of Brown’s long and deep recording career. But if notable highlights do it for you, than Get On Up has got exactly what you need. Also, if James Brown isn’t part of the regular listening rotation, or somehow his classics are unfamiliar (sacrilege of course!), then this is a great starting point.
The big hits are covered on Get On Up, including “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine,” “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag,” and “Say It Loud – I’m Black And I’m Proud.” Additionally, there are some captivating live recordings of Brown’s classics, such as two 1966 recordings of “Please Please Please” and “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” Also, compared to the aforementioned James Brown compilation, track “Caldonia” is nowhere to be found. It is, however, featured on the Get On Up soundtrack.
Ultimately, there is no reason to belabor this review of Get On Up. It’s a compilation that further accentuates the legacy of James Brown, period. Even if James Brown: 50th Anniversary Collection has been anchoring the James Brown collection for years, those additional live tracks on Get On Up should be motivation to add this album right next to it.