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Maceo Parker’s Requisite Recordings

Funk you need: five essential recordings

James Brown

Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag (King, 1965)

Maceo Parker joined James Brown’s band at the recommendation of his brother, the drummer Melvin Parker, and soon became Brown’s most prized and influential sideman. The original recording of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” was seven minutes long, so engineer Ron Lenhoff got clever: He sped up the tape, raising the pitch by half a step, and cut it into two parts. The first track, driven by Brown’s vocals and Jimmy Nolen’s guitar, became a No. 1 hit and, with its heavy emphasis on the one beat, helped sire the funk genre. The second was essentially a Parker showcase-close to two minutes of peppy, blue note-wrangling soloing, with Brown introducing the avuncular catchphrase that he would utter to Parker countless times: “Blow your horn!”

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