Hell

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Elias
Brown's early-'70s run of classic singles and good-to-great albums is still impressive. Hell was the double album released a year after the gold selling The Payback. To some, the title might put this effort in the realm of kitsch, but in many ways Hell was one of Brown's strongest albums. The album was the pinnacle of his work as the Minister of the Super New New Heavy Funk. From the tough and nimble Latin rhythms of "Coldblooded," and "Sayin' It and Doin' It" to the title track, all are prime pre-disco Brown. "My Thang" is probably as hard and unrelenting as he got without spontaneously combusting. The biggest surprise of Hell is that no matter how odd the song choices ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Elias
Brown's early-'70s run of classic singles and good-to-great albums is still impressive. Hell was the double album released a year after the gold selling The Payback. To some, the title might put this effort in the realm of kitsch, but in many ways Hell was one of Brown's strongest albums. The album was the pinnacle of his work as the Minister of the Super New New Heavy Funk. From the tough and nimble Latin rhythms of "Coldblooded," and "Sayin' It and Doin' It" to the title track, all are prime pre-disco Brown. "My Thang" is probably as hard and unrelenting as he got without spontaneously combusting. The biggest surprise of Hell is that no matter how odd the song choices seemed, practically everything worked, excluding a few key songs of course. Both "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "Stormy Monday" don't belong in James Brown's catalogue, let alone the same album. Ballad-wise, Brown fares better. "These Foolish Things Remind Me of You" has him getting all warm and fuzzy as he inexplicably throws in an "I'm hurt, I'm hurt" for good measure. That song, as well as the weepers "A Man Has to Go to the Cross Road Before He Finds Himself" and "Sometime," were produced by David Matthews who could always get good ragged yet poised vocals from Brown. Although Brown did roll snake eyes on all of side three, he did leave Hell on a good note. "Papa Don't Take No Mess" is laid-back, funky jazz that's worth each of its 13-plus minutes. Despite a few detours, Hell is worth listening to.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/28/1995
  • Label: Polydor / Umgd
  • UPC: 731452398321
  • Catalog Number: 523983
  • Sales rank: 4,422

Album Credits

Performance Credits
James Brown Primary Artist, Piano, Vocals
Joe Beck Guitar
Jon Faddis Trumpet
St. Clair Pinckney Tenor Saxophone
David Sanborn Alto Saxophone
Lew Soloff Trumpet
Chuck Rainey Bass
Pee Wee Ellis Baritone Saxophone
Ralph MacDonald Percussion
Maceo Parker Alto Saxophone
Sue Evans Percussion
Charlie Brown Guitar
David Matthews Piano, Electric Piano
Sam T. Brown Guitar
James Buffington French Horn
Lyn Collins Background Vocals
Eddie Daniels Reeds
Gordon Edwards Bass
Joe Farrell Tenor Saxophone
Johnny Griggs Conga
Tom Harrell Trombone
Hilda Harris Background Vocals
James Madison Drums
Harvey Mason Sr. Drums
Deborah McDuffie Background Vocals
John Morgan Drums
Gene Orloff Concert Master
John Starks Drums
Maretha Stewart Background Vocals
Fred Thomas Bass
David Tofani Reeds
Frank Vicari Tenor Saxophone
Fred Wesley Percussion, Trombone, Tambourine, Background Vocals
Jimmy Nolen Guitar
Hearlon "Cheese" Martin Guitar
Bob Both Percussion
Michael Gipson Trombone
Isiah "Ike" Oakley Trumpet
Johnny Scotton Background Vocals
Martha Harvin Background Vocals
Jim Parker Alto Saxophone
Technical Credits
James Brown Arranger, Composer, Producer
Pee Wee Ellis Composer
Mississippi Fred McDowell Composer
David Matthews Arranger
James Black Composer
Paul Campbell Composer
Alan Leeds Liner Notes
Gary N. Mayo Remastering
Bob Both Engineer
Joe Belt Artwork
Ted Pettus Art Direction
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