James Brown’s celebrated homecoming concert at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia on 1 October 1969 will have its 50th anniversary marked by Republic/UMe’s first-ever release of the complete show. The concert audio has been newly mixed for Live At Home with His Bad Self, which includes seven performances that have never been released.
The show was recorded with the intention of making a live album, which was then scheduled as a holiday release late that year, and would commemorate his move back to Mr. Brown’s southern roots. It featured a stellar band with his esteemed saxophone player Maceo Parker and no fewer than three drummers, Parker’s brother Melvin, Jabo Starks and Clyde Stubblefield. But the line-up disbanded soon after the concert and the soul legend assembled a new group including the emerging young bassist William ‘Bootsy’ Collins.
That team soon recorded the anthemic ‘Sex Machine,’ and as that funk landmark climbed the charts without an album behind it, Brown shelved the Live At Home release and instead created the double album Sex Machine. Released in September 1970, it included a near-11-minute version of the title hit and excerpts of the Augusta show.
Fifty years on, Live at Home with His Bad Self emerges as the Godfather first planned it. It’s been newly mixed from the original analog multi-tracks by Peter A. Barker, who has mixed records by Jeff Beck, Bonnie Raitt, Babyface and others. Among the newly-available material are the instrumentals ‘Lowdown Popcorn’ and ‘Spinning Wheel,’ which were re-cut with pre-recorded applause for the Sex Machine album.
Also on Live at Home is Brown’s hit of the time, ‘World,’ which he performed at the concert as a live vocal over the studio recording’s instrumental arrangement. Far from keeping this a secret, he explains this unusual move to the audience. ‘There Was A Time’ and ‘Mother Popcorn,’ which were heavily edited on Sex Machine, appear at twice the length. There’s also a live rendition of his 1968 hit ‘Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose,’ which appeared on Sex Machine, but as a studio re-record.